The Outsider

Director: Martin Zandvliet
Year Released: 2018
Rating: 2.0

In Japan at the end of World War II, American soldier Nick (Jared Leto) is imprisoned along with Kiyoshi (Tadanobu Asano) - Kiyoshi attempts suicide and is taken to a hospital but promises to get Nick released ... he makes good on that promise, and soon Nick is recruited by the yakuza and finds himself in the middle of an ugly war between rival families. Not much was done by Zandvliet and screenwriter Andrew Baldwin to set this apart from other films related to the genre - casually tossing in familiar symbols/images, like sentō (hot baths), irezumi (tattooing), yubitsume (choppin' off digits), daishō (a pair of swords), etc. - and it shuffles to a banal conclusion, in which graphic violence 'solves' all the picture's 'issues': I guess the 'moral,' if there is one, is 'Americans screw everything up.' The critical response to this has been harsh, but I did find myself drawn in by the controlled pace (tense scenes building up to bloodshed), and Leto is downright spooky, staring through the sets and brushing off a sniper's bullet to the leg.