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Muraki (Hiroki Matsukata) leads a quartet of young blackmailers (Tomomo
Sato, Akira Jo, Hideo Murota), all of whom were once societal outcasts
from the low end of the job range who have found a(n illigal) way to get
their hands on a share of the national wealth. For a time, business is
booming, and the four even find a way using their talents to avenge the
death of the father of one of them, Zero (Akira Jo), by playing two Yakuza
clans against one another.
Then though, a journalist tips them off about
a memorandum that reveals the ties of high politics and oganized crime -
and for Muraki, that's just too big an opportunity to miss out on ... even
if he bites off more than he can chew, and before you know it, Zero is
killed as a warning. Now Muraki is only more determined than ever to get
his hands on the memorandum though, and he manages to steal it from a
Yakuza boss, but not to blackmail it anymore but to have it published, out
of revenge for his friend's death.
The publication of the memorandum
only changes very little though, and as a tank you, Muraki is stabbed to
death, in public and broad daylight.
For the most part a
light-weight yet satirical crime movie, Blackmail is my Life only
turns serious in its final third or so - which is pretty much the basic
problem of the film, that it needs way too long to set up its actual
story, the gang's attempt to blackmail high politicsand yakuza alike, and
then leaves this story somewhat underdeveloped in favour of everything
that went on before.
That said, Blackmail is my Life is still an
entertaining film, it's well paced, nicely scored and stylishly directed -
but rather than being a great movie in its own right, it's an indication
of great movies to come from Fukasaku.