Another Lonely Hitman (1995)

7/10 - Down-beat Yakuza tale
Reviewed by Simon on 12 October 2005

Ryo Ishibashi is a low level yakuza given a big job - assassinate a rival gang's boss. This gets him a decade in prison, but assures his status within the gang will rise when he is released. However, after 10 years he finds the world around him has changed, not just the technology but the society. The gang his Yakuza were at war with are now allies, and the old Yakuza Code Of Honour no longer seems to be important to people.

ANOTHER LONELY HITMAN is a slow-paced and down-beat film, more personal than the standard Yakuza film. It's somewhat reminiscent of Kitano or some of Miike's less off-beat and slower-paced films. Much of the film concerns the relationship between Ishibashi and a prostitute offered to him as a reward/gift on his release. Both are sad characters, life's rejects if you will. There are moments of violence that punctuate the melancholy, but the film will never be described as "exciting". It's a dark drama, one that questions the romanticism of the Yakuza film and deconstructs many of its cliches (though it cops out at the end), making it deeper and probably far more realistic.

Visually, the film suffers from a low budget - it may have been shot on video (or just transferred from one) and is mostly shot in natural light, which sometimes means the image is dark and murky. There's some sometimes rather nice cinematography despite the limitations though. The film does feel bizarrely retro in its style - there's a definite eighties vibe going on, even after Tachibana's 10 years in prison. The saxophone-heavy jazzy soundtrack contributes to the eighties feel as well.

ANOTHER LONELY HITMAN is definitely an interesting film, but not as artful as a Kitano or as quirky as a Miike. Worth seeing if you like Japanese cinema, but not something I expect to watch again.


Ryo Ishibashi
Kazuhiko Kanayama
Takashi Miike


Rokuro Mochizuki

See also