Yujiro Ishihara is a cocky young killer working for a Tokyo-based criminal outfit. When he arrives in Kobe he witnesses an accidental death in the harbor, and soon after he has a chance encounter with the deceased's sister, Mie Kitahara. He is drawn to her before he realizes who she is, and even after he realizes the death was not accidental and related to his criminal life, his arrogance doesn't see it as a problem for their blossoming relationship. But nightclub dancer, and his lover, Yukiko Todoroki is jealous and wants Ishihara all to herself, despite him making it clear she means nothing to him. Meanwhile, the criminal outfit is trying to get rid of Ishihara by sending another killer after him, but he has no idea why. And local cop Shiro Osaka is constantly tailing Ishihara trying to trap him for something big. Starting out as a routine crime thriller about the downfall of a cold-blooded gun for hire, the movie becomes increasingly more rich and complex as the movie twists and turns and layers are peeled off the story and the characters. Everybody knows everybody on the shady side of Kobe's harbor, and the various relationships are revealed/detailed more and more as the movie progresses. Ishihara's cat&mouse game with Osaka for instance is a fun distraction to Ishihara, but is far more personal to Osaka, who has subtler motives for catching him than appears at first (which makes the final moments of the movie more intense/touching than it otherwise would). Ishihara is great as he gradually opens up more and more, finding a reason in Kitahara to try and start a new life. Her character is the least interesting of the main parts however, she is simply too demure and static. Todoroki is a gorgeous femme fatale and is far more interesting, with better acting, as she juggles her infatuation with Ishihara (and her jealous character) with her position in the shady world she lives in (when she realizes Ishihara's days are numbered she tells someone else from the outfit she's got a room for rent and is looking for a new tenant, but the room doesn't come cheap). Ishihara's story arc is as doomed and noir as it gets, as he gets caught in difficult situations outside of his control and makes bad choices despite knowing better (while trying to become a better/changed person). This is also reflected in the great cinematography which is filled with stark shadows during the night-time scenes, including a fistfight in a dark hotel room lit only by the pulsating lights of the harbor outside and filmed almost completely using Dutch angles. Add to that a hip jazzy soundtrack that works really well with the flashiness of Ishihara's character and you've got a surprisingly good and intriguing movie. Highly recommended! 8+/10
Action / Crime / Thriller
Action / Crime / Thriller
50s subculture icon Yujiro Ishihara (Crazed Fruit) stars in Masuda's Red Pier as "Jiro the Lefty", a killer with a natural talent. Shortly after arriving in Kobe, he witnesses a man die in ...
December 12, 2020