Country: Japan
Director: Takeshi Kitano
Stars: Takeshi Kitano, Aya Kokumai, Tetsu Watanabe

In Japan, everyone knows Takeshi Kitano. He's a comedian, singer, poet, painter, and one-time video game designer. He also writes, directs, and stars in movies. Sonatine, his most beloved yakuza picture, was released in 1993, one year before Kitano was injured in a motor scooter accident that left much of his body and face paralyzed. Still, Sonatine captures his deadpan, stoic approach.

For a gangster movie, it's surprisingly flat, and that's not a diss. Instead, it's a decision that feels right, a reflection of Kitano's bleak (but blackly comic) worldview.

In the film, Kitano plays a gangster who wants out, but a feud puts that plan on hold. The violence, when it comes, is jaw-dropping and brutal, giving more weight to the stillness surrounding it.