Yellow Kid

Yellow Kid


Reviewed by: Owen Van Spall

Director Tetsuya Mariko's Yellow Kid makes for visceral, intense viewing. Stylishly directed and with a pitch-perfect cast, it mixes comic book imagery with a burned out and harsh colour pallette in the 'real world' to create a unique experience. This is film with real energy and ambition that superbly keeps the pressure-cooker building, only coming unstuck a little at the end with the sudden introduction of possible alternate endings and last-minute twists.

The story centres around two outcasts- young and short-tempered boxer Tamura, who struggles to look after his senile grandmother; and Hattori, a reclusive and emotionally unstable manga artist. Hattori is struggling to write a sequel to his manga Yellow Kid, a comic Tamura worships and which inspired him to become a boxing student. Hattori decides to base the new character in his story on Tamura, whom he sees after hanging around the gym whilst looking for inspiration for his artwork.

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But even as the comic develops, so Tamura begins to be drawn down into a cycle of violence that darkly mirrors the epic battles in Hattori's comics. Pushed too far by Enomoto, a thug in his boxing club who torments him relentlessly, Tamura edges closer to exploding into a wild orgy of violence and despair that seems to draw energy from Hattori's own desires for vengeance on his former girlfriend and her new lover.

This is no ordinary underdog boxer story. Mariko's film instead shares DNA with Taxi Driver or Raging Bull in its unflinching depiction of two outsiders whose comic book fantasies of idealised figures wont be enough to save them. Actors Kaname Endo and Ryo Iwase are more than capable as the two tragic loners at the heart of the storm. Around them Mariko builds a bleakly drawn but fascinating world of filthy boxing clubs, lonely highways and cramped apartments, where violence is impossible to repress forever as it seems to lie at the heart of everything.

Reviewed on: 13 Oct 2010
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Yellow Kid packshot
A young boxer struggling in a violent world becomes the inspiration for a comic.
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Director: Tetsuya Mariko

Writer: Tetsuya Mariko

Starring: Kaname Endo, Ryo Iwase, Kazuki Namioka

Year: 2010

Runtime: 107 minutes

Country: Japan

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