Featuring one of the most nihilistic characters in Seijun Suzuki's film canon, which is saying something, Smashing The O-Line tells the story of two investigative reporters and old friends, Katiri & Nishina, each of which with very different moral obligations. While Nishina makes sure his desire for a scoop stays within the moral and ethical boundaries, Katiro is so ambitiously amoral that he'll sell out anyone to get a schoop. The two men are after the same story, focusing on the ever-growing drug trade which is making its way from Hong Kong to the Japanese shores, and much of Smashing the O-Line's early half plays out much like a cat-and-mouse game, with both Katiri & Nishina surveying the same space, using their divergent methods to track down the smugglers responsible for the growing drug problems in Japan. Katiri any means necessary' approach eventually catches up to him, as he gets too close to the source of the drugs, which leads a ruthless female gang boss to kidnap his sister as a form of collateral. Like that, Katiri disappears without a trace, leading Nishina to use his morally-just methods to track down Kaitiri and attempt to break the story about the large drug smuggling operation in the process. Seijun Suzuki's Smashing The O-line is a film about journalistic ethics and morality, telling a dark, seedy story about drug smuggling that finds the lines between police-work and investigative journalism endlessly blurred. At times, while watching Smashing The O-line I found myself forgetting that these characters were reporters and not police officers, as the film holds the work of these types of reporters in high regards. One of the filmmakers darker urban films, Smashing The O-line is a story of drug smuggling and human trafficking that shows little restraint, for the time period, in exhibiting the type of filth and depravity that exists in this world. For example, the film isn't particularly modest in the sequence involving the kidnapping of Katiri's sister, as this female mob boss makes sure to tell Katiri that she fully intends to let her cronies gang-rape his sister, a quite salacious, borderline startling sequence for the time period. Typical of his films, Smashing The O-Line uses kinetic, quick-twitch editing, at times, and tight compositions to give the film an added layer of intensity and flair, with Suzuki creating a film that feels tense and action-packed even with little actual action ever on screen. For me, Smashing The O-Line is one of Suzuki's more interesting early works due to Katiri's amoral ambition and narcissism, a character which almost feels like a stepping stone for Suzuki's later efforts such as Branded to Kill. Katiri is a character who is so oblivious to everything outside of himself and his own accomplishments that even at the end of the film, when he is rescued from the drug smugglers, he attempts to make a deal with the same woman who earlier in the film threatened to have his own sister gang-raped. The final scene of this film perfectly encapsulates Katiri as a character, as he leaves the crime scene after being rescued by Nishina with a badly injured ankle, refusing medical attention. Katiri's own arrogance, bullheadedness is prevalent, as he calls the injury only a fleshwound, yet as he walks down the street, Suzuki's camera captures the increasing pain and difficulty Katiri is having in order to continue to walk. The sequence is a simple, yet brilliant device, exhibiting, how Katiri hasn't learned a thing about the dangers of his methods while simultaneously hinting that it will eventually catch up to him with a more tragic end result.
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