GOODBYE CRUEL WORLD screened at the 42nd Hawai‘i International Film Festival presented by Halekulani
When regarding the art and ingredients of making a gangster film, Quentin Tarantino stated, “a good, pulpy story or you need an aspect of criminality that you want to put under a microscope.” He also added that a satirical subtext is a pivotal element of crime and gangster drama saying “In almost all cases, gangster films were sort-of parodies of the American Dream. They’re the looking glass, the askew bizarre-o world of getting rich in business in America.”. Now I know you the reader is probably wondering what parodies of the American Dream have to do with a gangster film set in Japan? For one when marketed by HIFF, GOODBYE CRUEL WORLD was said to be “a star-studded gangster thriller with a Tarantino-esque spin”. However, this film doesn’t just mix these tropes but it also subverts Tarantino’s ingredients in a clever, economical, and entertaining way. I had a fantastic time watching Goodbye Cruel World and I urge anyone who likes gangster films to go and see it.
The film follows the perspectives of five people whose identities are unknown to each other. They gather to do a job which involves robbing the yakuza gang’s money laundering operation and they are successful. However, as they attempt to go back to their normal lives with their new wealth the Yakuza hire a detective to hunt down and find them. For the sake of not spoiling the movie I will not go into great details about the film’s plot. This is Tatsushi Ōmori’s 12th film and even though I am unfamiliar with his previous work you can tell that he seems to have mastered his specific style. As a filmmaker I can tell you that this means that he has found his voice. Like any specific skill this does take time to do and it seems as if Omori is exceptionally skilled at it.
As mentioned before he take lot’s of cues from Tarantino, however it also reminds me quite a bit of other works such as Uncut Gems and The Batman. All three films show us the underbelly of the crime worlds they choose to adopt but they never shy away from focusing on the raw humanity of their characters. Whether it be the lighting or framing of the cinematography, the rhythmic editing, or the performances of GOODBYE CRUEL WORLD, everything and everyone has something to say. The only issue I had with the film was that I feel like it somewhat overstayed it’s welcome towards the very end. It felt like it had multiple endings to it and it could have been more economical in sticking with a few perspectives. However, this is something small and it doesn’t ruin the overall product.
Ultimately, in a world where we live in the over saturation of studio product based blockbusters it is encouraging to see a seasoned professional not bend to this and still tell the stories that they want to tell. It’s a unique voice that he himself has and not what a studio tells him he has to have. I find this to be something special and I would like to adopt it in my own work. The unwillingness to be afraid, for that is what the cinematic art form is all about.
Alioune Fall is an aspiring filmmaker who is in his Junior Year. From the early age of 9 years old he has been involved in the arts going back and forth to both his homes that being New York and Maui. As an actor he has been exposed to many film sets and took classes in film acting. This itching curiosity of film led him into being accepted into NYU’s Future Filmmaker Workshop during his senior year of high school. He maintains a Youtube channel called ABF Films that currently has 1,660 subscribers that he just launched this year focusing on video essays. Alioune hopes to gain enough knowledge and experience through the HOCCI to take his understanding of film and his youtube channel to the next level.
The mission of the HIFF ONLINE CREATIVES & CRITICS IMMERSIVE (HOCCI) program is to encourage film criticism in Hawai‘i by using the influencer branding strategies to spark career opportunities in the State and not be hampered by oceans, state borders and distance, because geography is no longer a barrier. Ten mentees participated in this program, giving them press industry access to HIFF42. In addition, the cohort attended mentoring sessions by working critics in the online film journalism community in unique silos: Writing, Podcasting, Video Essays and Vlogging.