Rainy Dog (1997)
Rainy Dog is one of four movies that Takashi Miike shot in 1997, and is the second part of his "Shinjuku Triad Society" trilogy. I am not sure what connection it has to parts 1 & 3 - being set in Shinjuku certainly isn't one of them though, as it is set and filmed in Taipei, Taiwan. It also works perfectly well as a stand alone movie.
Rainy Dog is a movie about a yakuza who has ended up in Taipei, apparently on the run from some gang or other. He works as a hitman for a local boss and tries to stay out of the rain. Apparently it rains a *lot* in Taipei. He forms the beginnings of a family when a woman he slept with many years ago turns up and announces that the mute kid she dumps on him is his.
Rainy Dog is quite an unusual movie for Takashi Miike, being almost totally free of the extreme, unusual and shocking elements for which his work is known. The movie is played pretty much straight, just focussing on old fashioned elements like characters, script, cinematography and symbolism. Not a lot of dialogue (Yuuji barely speaks more than his kid), but when people do speak it is quite thoughtful and insightful.
Rainy Dog is one of Takashi Miike's most technically accomplished films. The cinematography and soundtrack are excellent and editing superb. Despite the fact that most of the cast is speaking Mandarin, which I doubt Miike speaks, he is able to elicit excellent performances from everybody.
Rainy Dog is an artful kind of gangster movie, gently paced and philosophical. It's the closest Miike has come to making a Takeshi Kitano movie (it even has the requisite scene at the sea). It doesn't have anything that really leaps out and grabs the viewer by the balls like other movies such as DEAD OR ALIVE, Visitor Q, THE HAPPINESS OF THE KATAKURIS or Full Metal Yakuza, but it's probably one of his strongest and most well balanced films.