The Outsider

The Outsider

(2018)

Oscar winner Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club) leads this post-WWII crime drama as an imprisoned American soldier who seeks to repay the Yakuza for setting him free. From the director of Oscar nominee Land of Mine.

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Flicks Review

It's an affectionate love letter to yakuza films, but The Outsider is a dull, cookie cutter movie that largely fails to deliver. Having Jared Leto in the lead isn't as bad as it may sound, despite him having the appearance of a thin model rather than a grizzled mob enforcer. Rather, the main problem with this stylised, violent tale of organised crime in post-WWII Japan is that it's something we've seen done better, countless times before.... More

The obligatory gang turf war doesn't kick off until an hour and a half in. Before it does, there's a finger cutting scene, sumo wrestling, a full back tattoo procedure, a sake ceremony, a katana being ritualistically given to someone… all the boxes get ticked. That's not necessarily a bad thing, and outsider filmmakers paying homage to yakuza movies should probably include it all. But it shouldn't feel like they're dutifully working their way down a list, and that's exactly what is going on here.

When the third act finally kicks in and the film shifts up a few gears, it also becomes dramatically nonsensical. What should be the most exciting moments are instead head scratchers, as everyone suddenly behaves in a distractingly absurd manner. There's also a fairly gross white saviour / Last Samurai element to the climax that probably would've been more acceptable a few decades ago.

Still, The Outsider is not a terrible film. There is some sweet-as violence, it's all shot immaculately and if you have a 4K TV, Netflix is serving it up in glorious ultra-high-definition. It seems like ages since we've had a mainstream yakuza movie, too, and this will at least scratch that itch. It's a real shame it does so in such an underwhelming way. It's good for having on while you're cooking dinner or something around the house, as not giving it all of your attention should lessen the frustration.Hide


The Peoples' Reviews

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BY Jashezilla superstar

The Outsider really isn’t a great film. I wanted to like it, and I usually enjoy gritty crime movies, but this one was just everything I’ve seen done before but somehow a lot worse than when I’ve seen it done before. And even though I’m trying to find something good to say about it, I really can’t. The cinematography was good, I guess? But not good enough to merit wasting 2 hours of your time on a terrible movie, sorry Netflix.


The Press Reviews

  • Dull, flavourless, and fundamentally incurious, "The Outsider" is a clueless misfire, the cinematic equivalent of a study-abroad student showing off the kanji forearm tattoo whose meaning he never bothered to learn. Full Review

  • Designed to offer Western audiences the opportunity to see a Caucasian movie star, and a heartthrob one at that, in an unusual genre setting, The Outsider rarely manages to rise above its audience-baiting concept. Full Review

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