Skip to main content

DEAD OR ALIVE

Japan, 1999 (MIFF 2002, Regional Focus / Miike Takashi)

Director: Miike Takashi

One of the most formidable jolts to the Yakuza genre in the past decade. Dead or Alive has already left audiences gulping and gasping at Tokyo, Vancouver and Seattle Film Festivals. Surreal visions of excess, an out of control guitar soundtrack and mean streets examinations of almost every remaining taboo in our society frame the action.

A maverick gangster of Chinese descent upsets the balance of power between Tokyo cops, triads and Yakuza. Along the way to a devastating finale, director Miike constructs a series of hauntingly sad vignettes in which characters confront failure, defeat and mortality. His talent for the perverse and wild humour has never been sharper.

"The wild sweep of an adult-theme anime. A sensation-seeking soap opera. Its sentimentality is crossbred with gritty drama." - New York Times

"Fasten your seat belts. A woman plunging from a high-rise into the street, snorting a bar-length line of coke, a nightclub shootout, a wigged-out knife-throwing act - and that's just the first five minutes. Before it is over, there will be a massacre amid flying chicken feathers and a deep-fried hand. No-holds-barred filmmaking." - San Francisco Chronicle

See also...

DEAD OR ALIVE 2: BIRDS

Dead or Alive 2: Birds, is far from a traditional sequel. Mizuki, a crack hitman fond of painfully loud shirts, is hired by an enigmatic magician played by Shinya Tsukamoto, director of the Tetsuo ... More »

THE HAPPINESS OF THE KATAKURIS

An hilariously chaotic reinterpretation of macabre MIFF 1999 comedy The Quiet Family. Miike Takashi dispenses with guns and gangsters, disappearing into the hills to hire a room with a cursed ... More »

GRAVEYARD OF HONOUR

Graveyard of Honour (Shin Jingi No Hakaba)JapanWhen a lone gunman walks into a Tokyo restaurant and begins gunning down the yakuza clientele, lowly dishwasher Rikuo Ishimatsu coolly walks through a ... More »

ONE MISSED CALL

One Missed Call (Chakushin Ari) JapanYoko receives a voicemail message dated three days in the future, which consists of screams that sound suspiciously like her own. Three days later, at the exact ... More »

GOZU

This Cannes Directors' Fortnight selection relates the story of Ozaki, a senior Japanese gangster whose increasingly peculiar behaviour is beginning to worry his Yakuza superiors. When Ozaki ... More »

Izo

Since his [Audition] (MIFF 00), Miike Takashi has gained a cult following in the West, and [Izo] is sure to compound his reputation. [Izo] confounds easy description, and even Miike says of the film ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director