Branded to Kill

Branded to Kill ★★★★½

FUCK Tokyo Drifter, this is where it's at! My main gripe with Drifter was that its plot felt too skeletal for its incredible style and that it didn't feel like it amounted to much as a result of that. On the other hand, Branded to Kill takes both sides of that dichotomy and pushes them to their extremes, which surprisingly enough works very well for it. The plot here may as well not exist and the style is turned up to the max. By far one of the most visually appealing films I've laid eyes on, but the striking nature of its presentation doesn't stop there. 

From my perspective, this plays out like a series of noirish, sex-driven, and intensely stylized vignettes that just barely come together to make a somewhat understandable piece. Although, regardless of how incohesive the plot may be, the utter eye-grabbing and addictive qualities of the cinematography sell everything remarkably well. There's tons of gratuitous nudity and an unhealthy amount of gunplay, but it's all executed in such a flawless manner, and it's difficult to not stay engaged. If you're gonna watch this, I recommend taking a step back to simply enjoy what's happening on the screen as it occurs. Trying to analyze it isn't going to get you anywhere, but if you dig unique visual styles, you're almost certainly gonna love this.

Quick side note: I read an article a while back saying that Tarantino took some inspiration from Suzuki, and now having seen this, it's very apparent that he draws a lot from the gun conflict scenes here. So, if you like the power dynamics that typically come from deadly weapons in Tarantino movies, particularly in his signature shootout scenes, I'd say this is a must-watch.

Zachary liked this review