Dangerous Trade in Kobe

Dangerous Trade in Kobe ★★★★½

Caught with 300g of heroin, cocky upstart Hiroki Matsukata is forced by government agents to turn on his Yakuza handlers and help G-man Tatsuo Umemiya bring the syndicate down.

Made in a Jitsuruko style, Eiichi Kudo's film is another unearthed gem that stands out from the pack by a slightly non traditional narrative (for its era), some interesting cinematography, and it's two excellent lead performances, I know Kudo isn't for everyone but personally I adore that he never leaves his leading men shortchanged, giving both the necessary space and room to breathe, adding depth to both characters and their respective moral battles as they are torn between their 'duties'.

Matsukata is the MVP but I also really appreciated Umemiya's slightly stiff performance, I'm not sure if it was intentional or not but it somehow helped me buy into the central relationship between the two leads.

Overall, it may be a little slower, and 'talkier', than your usual Jitsoroku, with slightly less violence and action than the norm, but as a more character driven crime thriller of its time, I think it works like an absolute charm.

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