Youth of the Beast (1963)

Youth of the Beast
Directed by Seijun Suzuki
Written by Ichiro Ikeda and Tadaki Yamakazi from a novel by Haruhiko Obayu
Nikkatsu Film Company
First viewing/FilmStruck


I make movies that make no sense and make no money. – Seijun Suzuki

Was Seijun Suzuki the Sam Fuller of Japan?  Possibly.

The plot is almost too complicated to follow.  The movie begins with a newspaper story about the double-suicide of a police officer and a call girl.  From there we move to the mysterious, gun-crazy Jo Mizuno who offers himself as a yakuza hitman in what proves to be a Yojimbo like fashion.  Eventually, we learn that Mizuno’s real mission is to solve the case of the police officer, which he believes to be a murder.  It’s hard to pay attention to plot details, though, among the heaping helpings of ultra-violence.

Suzuki had an outsider’s vision of the world that makes his gangster films particularly fascinating to watch.  There are some stunning scenes including backgrounds from other films, stripteases, etc. In the end it’s just too violent for my taste, however.

No subtitles but a lot of dialogue-free action