Blackmail Is My Life | Chicago Reader

Blackmail Is My Life

Part black comedy and part exploitation flick, Kinji Fukasaku's 1968 feature about a ring of small-time punk extortionists who run up against the corrupt establishment is also a pop-art-influenced exercise in manic storytelling. Intermittently narrated by the gang's feckless, opportunistic leader (Hiroki Matsukata), the plot zigs and zags (dominated by flashbacks, zooms, and freeze- frames) as the dramatic stakes get higher. Fukasaku has a keen feel for his scummy underworld milieu and the tight camaraderie among the four grifters, but measured against Nagisa Oshima's contemporary portrayals of rebellious and aimless youth this film is sensationalistic, even camp. The antihero's lingering death at the end is a hoot. In Japanese with subtitles. 90 min.

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