lunedì 19 novembre 2012

(Take) Aim at the Police Van - Seijun Suzuki

non sarà un capolavoro, ricorda tanto bel cinema Usa, una musica perfetta, una storia semplice e complessa insieme, un investigatore che come Pollicino segue le tracce, qualcosa de "I soliti sospetti",
insomma, un film che vale la pena vedere - Ismaele

Noir targato Nikkatsu intricatissimo quanto essenziale, molto ben fotografato in bianco e nero e Nikkatsu Scope (il CinemaScope della casa nipponica).

Take Aim is a classic whodunit tale penned by Shinichi Sekizawa and Kazuo Shimada. They try to keep you guessing until the very end of the film and have just enough seedy character types and a level of mystery around the main cast to keep you doing just that. Without giving too much away, the main villain is quite the bastard, so the ending feels more satisfying than one would expect. There are a couple of plot points that are left dangling in front of the viewer, such as why the prisoner transport van was attacked in the first place. There is also the bit about the main containing a certain set of skills that probably shouldn’t belong to a simple prison guard, but the film never really touches on Tamon’s past…

Each scene is carefully composed and frames our characters (good and bad) appropriately. I have to think that this particular film was included in the Nikkatsu set as a representative sample of Suzuki stretching past the point of being able to snap back. After a film like this with its obvious stylistic devices, how could he go back to shooting something generic?

The plot is purposely confusing and Suzuki has likely jumbled it a bit just to keep the viewer off a step and allow them the chance to play catch up. He's created an artful and sumptuous film to look at while always keeping in mind the goal of also entertaining his audience. I may be biased towards his films, but there's a good reason why that is.

Take Aim at the Police Van is rarely anything more than an efficient programmer, but Suzuki does a more than adequate job of transferring the narrative machinations of the American film noirs of the era to the Nikkatsu production line.  The occupation of the film’s hero enables him to inherit one of the key characteristics of the more popularly utilised private detective in that Daijiro occupies the economic middle ground with sufficient social mobility to be well-acquainted with both ex-cons and law enforcers.  In addition, Suzuki’s tour of the criminal underworld takes in both the seedy club circuit and more exclusive inns that provide services to men whose wives think they are away on ‘business’.  Yet such conformity to the rules of the film noir genre and the studio suits does not entail that Take Aim at the Police Van is an entirely impersonal undertaking; Suzuki is less interested in the story than he is in staging some energetic action sequences and setting up a series of encounters between Daijiro and people who are more in-the-know than he is, while also indulging in a fever dream sequence.  Take Aim at the Police Van is terrific entertainment from a filmmaker who was starting to have fun with the script en route to throwing it out of the window.

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