Director: Takeshi Kitano
Screenwriters: Takeshi Kitano

Institute History

  • 2001 Sundance Film Festival


Takeshi Kitano has arrived in America, and he is breathing fresh air into the Los Angeles gangster scene. With artistic flair and minimalist elegance, Brother not only imports the violent Japanese Yakuza gangster legend to the shores of the Golden State, but also presents a new screen icon who has to be one of the coolest tough guys since Clint Eastwood and Charles Bronson.

When Yakuza gangster Yamamoto (Beat Takeshi) is forcibly retired from his clan after a hostile takeover, he flies from Tokyo to Los Angeles to find his younger half brother Ken (Claude Maki), whom he believes he has been financing through college. When he finds that Ken has dropped out of school to run a sloppy drug-dealing operation with his buddy Danny (Omar Epps), Yamamoto slaps him on the back of the head in disgust, then shows the motley crew how to take over the LA underworld, Yakuza style. In the most violent ways imaginable, Yamamoto transforms the ragtag gang into a styling posse of professional punishers and schools them in a kamikaze code of honor that puts all other forms of gang bonding to shame.

Kitano's signature style of high-octane artillery action and blood splatter is balanced with a brotherly tenderness and deadpan hilarity that sets the film apart from most other American gangster flicks. Teeming with lyrical imagery and possessing a graceful orchestral jazz score by Hisaishi Joe, Brother is a stylish and brutally enchanting meditation on loyalty, honor, and the demands of the insensible dictates of brotherhood.

— Shari Frilot

Screening Details

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