Brother is a 2000 crime drama film directed by Takeshi Kitano. The film follows the story of a Japanese yakuza named Yamamoto (played by Takeshi Kitano) who moves to Los Angeles to start a new life after being abandoned by his Yakuza clan. Here he meets his estranged brother who is a member of an American gang.
Yamamoto soon realises that his brother’s gang is not as organized or respected as his former Yakuza family and so seeks to inspire them to expand their reputation in the criminal underworld. Things take a turn for the worse when he becomes embroiled in a gang war and struggles to adapt to the American way of life. The film is known for its stylish direction, intense action scenes, and dark humour.
How was Brother Received Critically?
Brother was Takeshi Kitano’s first venture into creating a film with greater western appeal. Whilst not to everyone’s taste, overall, the movie was generally well-received by critics and the audience upon its release.
Many praised the film for its stylish direction and intense (often violent) action scenes, with some reviewers noting that Kitano’s background as a comedian helped to infuse the film with a sense of dark humour. Reviewers praised Kitano’s direction as well as the film’s unique blend and portrayal of Western & East Asian criminal culture.
About the Director – Takeshi Kitano
Takeshi Kitano is a Japanese film director, actor, comedian and television host. He is known for his distinctive directing style that often combines intense violence with deadpan comedy and poetic moments. He’s also known for often starring in his own films, usually playing stoic, quiet characters with hidden emotional depth.
Kitano began his career in show business as a comedian and television host in Japan. He made his directorial debut in 1989 with Violent Cop. Throughout the 1990s, he gained international acclaim for his films, including Sonatine & Hana-bi. He has also directed numerous critically acclaimed films such as Brother and the Outrage trilogy since then.
Kitano is widely regarded as one of the most accomplished actors of his generation in Japan. He is also a painter and published author. He is considered a cultural icon in Japan; his work has had a significant impact on contemporary Japanese cinema.
Other Yakuza Themed Movies by Takeshi Kitano
Here are some more movies directed by Takeshi Kitano that feature and thematically explore Yakuza culture.
- Hana-bi (1997) – A retired police detective, Nishi, finds himself in debt to the yakuza and embarks on a journey with his terminally ill wife, following the murder of his detective partner.
- Outrage (2010) – A film that explores the power struggles within a Yakuza organization as different factions vie for dominance. The main character, Otomo, must navigate the dangerous and violent world of the Yakuza and decide where his loyalty lies.
- Zatoichi (2003) – Set in 19th century Japan, this film follows the story of a blind masseur and skilled swordsman, Zatoichi, who becomes embroiled in a conflict between rival Yakuza clans.
- Sonatine (1993) – A group of Tokyo-based Yakuza members led by Murakawa, are sent to the island of Okinawa to resolve a dispute with a rival gang but things take a turn for the worse