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“Outrage,” Reviewed

“Outrage,” Reviewed (photo)

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Reviewed at Fantastic Fest 2010.

“Outrage” may be Takeshi Kitano’s return to the yakuza movie on which his international reputation as a filmmaker was built, but it’s not a return to the elegiac, melancholy tone those movies embraced. When the killing starts, and there is a lot of killing, it arrives with a shrug of inevitability — what, did anyone really expect these duplicitous, aggressive, violent men to get along? “Outrage” may come up empty in the end, but it’s an entertaining ride to nowhere that pokes fun at the ritual and rules that its characters pretend to abide by even as they ruthlessly stab each other in the back.

The first domino falls when Ikemoto (Kunimura Jun), the head of a gang that’s part of the Sanno-kai, a larger crime syndicate, is taken to task by the chairman (Kitamura Soichiro) because he’s been partnering up with another gang, headed up by Murase (Renji Ishibashi), that’s not part of their organization. Ikemoto and Murase formed a partnership when they were in prison together, but in order to demonstrate to his boss that they’re not that cozy, Ikemoto sends his own subordinate Otomo (Kitano) to subtly pick a fight.

That scene defines the bluster and double-dealing that will follow — one of Otomo’s men pretends to be a guileless salaryman and allows himself to get pulled into a nightclub scam run by some of Murase’s low-level thugs. A young yakuza bullies him all the way back to the Otomo gang’s office, where he realizes exactly who he’s netted and is immediately cowed by the trouble he’s gotten himself and his colleagues in. Trying to preserve the pact between the two gangs, Murase orders the lieutenant responsible for the scheme to make amends by cutting off his finger. It won’t be the last digit chopped before the credits roll.

“Outrage”‘s portrayal of underworld loyalty as a lie, a gloss obscuring a dog-eat-dog world of greed, arrogance and territoriality, isn’t exactly unheard of — it’s much rarer these days to find a film that actually buys into the mythology of honor among organized criminals, and “Outrage” at times seems like a less fleet-footed Japanese cousin to Johnnie To’s similar “Election” films. But “Outrage” is remarkable for the way its characters use yakuza organization and structure against each other. It’s got to be one of the most passive aggressive mobster movies of all time, with gangsters refusing apologies in order to escalate conflicts they actually started and sending their men out on nefarious errands they then claim to have no prior knowledge of to the aggrieved party.

Plot machinations take the place of developing any members of the large cast of characters — the only standouts are Ryo Kase (“Letters from Iwo Jima”) as the gang’s sardonic head of finances and Kitano himself, whose bluff presence fits the midlevel Otomo, a man baffled but not surprised to find himself maneuvered into increasingly undesirable situations.

“Outrage” currently has no US distribution.

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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