Black Rain (1989) - Ridley Scott
Nick Conkin is a NY detective who lives by his own rules. Divorced with two young children, Conklin is gouged for alimoney by his ex-wife while also being under scrutiny by his superiors for allegedly stealing confiscated drug money. He is given a small chance at redemption when him and his partner are assigned to escort Sato, a Japanese mob boss, back to Japan to stand trial. Upon their arrival, Conklin and his partner, Charlie, are tricked into releasing Sato to his own men. Now in a foreign country, the two men will stop at nothing to track down Sato and bring him to justice- leading them right into the middle of a Yakuza gang war over a massive counterfeiting operation. Ridley Scott's Black Rain is a fish out of water storyline which finds American renegade, Nick Conklin, in the middle of a culture he doesn't understand. Conklin is an incredibly brash and headstrong individual whose tactics aren't the most noble. The cultural differences of America and Japan play a major part of this story, with Nick's relationship with Japanese officer, Mashario, being where many of the themes originate. The actual narrative surrounding the counterfeiting operation is rather bland but it's the relationship between Mashahiro and Nick that makes the film worth seeing. These two men have completely different viewpoints on how to conduct policework. While Mashahiro sees a clear distinction between right and wrong, Nick doesn't see things nearly as black and white. This leads to the heart of the story, where Nick and Mashahiro become friends, with each being able to help the other grow as police officers and men. The aesthetic of Black Rain is gritty, with almost exclusively dark hues that are only brightened by the neon signs of Tokyo. The film has a few really nice compositions but on the whole it doesn't really jump out at the viewer from a visual perspective. Ridley Scott's Black Rain is a film that definitely suffers from some of the dated cheesiness of the 1980s, but the thematic elements revolving around justice make it a decent way to kill two hours.
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