Young Yakuza: Actually Boring, Somehow
Director Jean-Pierre Limosin's Young Yakuza, a documentary on the immersion of a troubled Japanese youth into the shadowy, sorta-legal-but-still-illicit world of the yakuza (Japanese mafia), never delivers either the thrill of its underworld setting or much insight into its complicated workings. Limosin's cameras follow as the exasperated mother of 20-year-old Naoki turns him over to the Kumagi clan in the hope that he'll learn discipline and gain focus in his life. Sounding like any businessman lamenting the poor crop of candidates before him, the clan leader offers the wry observation that due to Japan's generally lax and deteriorating expectations of its youth, it's increasingly difficult to find young men with the qualities needed to become yakuza. Limosin's efforts to spice up Naoki's tale with scenes of Japanese rappers don't add the edge he's seeking, but the film really loses steam when—more than halfway through—Naoki vanishes, and a new protagonist is jammed into place. For legal reasons, the replacement can't be seen on camera, and the film's already low-watt energy fizzes, never to pick back up. By the time Naoki finally reappears, the viewer is hard-pressed to care.
Get the Film Club Newsletter
Stay up to date on the best new movies with our critics' latest reviews, interviews and trailers for the films coming to a theater near you each week.
More Film News
- Alex Gibney: Steve Jobs Had the 'Focus of a Monk — Without the Empathy'
- Netflix’s 'Narcos' Tries to Be 'The Wire' for Colombia’s Drug War
- ‘The Second Mother’ Offers a Sharp Brazilian Take on the Upstairs/Downstairs Drama
- The Predictability of Teary Kids Doc 'My Voice, My Life' Doesn't Make It Any Less Powerful