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UNDER THE OPEN SKY (2020, JPN) Movie review, plot, trailer

After 13 long years, former yakuza Mikami (great Japanese actor Koji Yakusho, who was nominated for Asian Actor of the Year), a 55-year-old man who ended up behind bars because he cut a guy who attacked him and his wife to pieces . And this whole man has “dedicated” his life to crime, and everything went wrong when he was left as a child in an orphanage by his mother’s geisha. A few correctional homes, a few prisons, intrusion into the society of the Japanese criminal organization yakuza and here is the life that has flown by, and Mikami does not have a single day of work experience. This time he decided to really change and be good, to fit into society, to find an honest job, and he set himself the mission to finally find out what happened to his mother.

To succeed in this, he will contact the Mikami production team of a reality TV show that deals with similar topics, so his permanent companion will be a young cameraman who will follow and film him. Mikami spends most of his time looking for a job and trying to fit in, but it’s not easy. All the more so because he is extremely impulsive, sudden in nature, difficult to control, and behaves almost as if he had fallen from Mars. “Prison is the only place they won’t kick you out no matter how bad he behaves,” Mikami says in one situation, and that sentence perhaps best describes his behavior. He simply cannot control himself and acts like a savage whenever he encounters a problem, often the standard bureaucratic nonsense that the common man has somehow become accustomed to.

Although “Under the Open Sky” on IMDB is characterized as a crime novel, I would rather describe it as some humanistic drama, spiced with typically Japanese, somewhat absurd humor. While he is applying for a job, he is trying to renew his driver’s license, the whole system seems completely Kafkaesque to him, he doesn’t manage at all and nothing is clear to him because he didn’t need something similar before because he was involved in crime. He is also aware that most look at him with prejudice and even contempt when they realize who he is, what he is and that he was in prison for murder. He can hardly understand how much society has changed in those 13 years and that people today are no longer shaking their pants in memory of the yakuza. While Yakusho is great and the story makes sense, it was a little too sugary and weird for my taste.


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