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The film-proper is dominated by the all-but-wordless odyssey of a susceptible yuppie and the jilted fiancée driven mad by his desertion to marry the boss's daughter. Bound by a blood-red cord, they move hypnotically through a landscape variously urban and natural, stylized only by the breathtaking purity of light, angle, color, and formal movement imposed by Kitano's compositional eye and rigorous, fragmentary editing. Along the way we also pick up the story of an elderly gangster, haunted by memories of the lover he deserted three decades earlier and generations of "brothers" for whose deaths he was, in the accepted order of things, responsible. Another strand is added to the imagistic weave via a doll-like pop singer and a groupie blinded by devotion to her.
This is a film in which character, morality, metaphysics, and destiny are all expressed through visual rhyme and startling adjustments of perspective. It sounds abstract--and it is--but it's also heartbreaking and thrilling to behold. Kitano isn't in it, but as an artist he's all over it. His finest film, and for all its exoticism, his most accessible. --Richard T. Jameson