Takeshi Kitano’s Sonatine is an intentionally still film. It isn’t particularly lively like the many gangster films that are, but that’s not to say it isn’t good. In fact, it separates it from anything else. What you see on the poster is what you get in its striking opening. The red sky; the fish; the spear. Then the title Sonatine. It paints a picture and an expectation, and then waits for it to never happen. It alludes to something, and effortlessly serves up something palpable. The embodiment of its main character is performed by Kitano with a rare cold emotion. Truly, it’s fascinating to watch.
But, Sonatine isn’t entirely serious nor trying to be deep at all times. Occasionally, it is dark and inexplicable. Yet, there is such a tender heart to it, strikingly when the film’s group of protagonists are sharing laughs and contentment with each other. Yes, these are men of the yakuza. They fire guns and aim to kill. When Kitano’s character says “I shoot fast because I get scared fast”, it paints a different and contrasting perception of the men. Not only does it make the audience emphasize for its characters, but it strengthens the film’s excellence.