The Outsider in a nutshell

The Outsider (2018)

The Outsider gives us a hint of how difficult it could have been for an American to live in the postwar Japan. Especially as a yakuza gangster.

Martin Zandvliet‘s The Outsider was released by Netflix on 9 March 2018. Based on the original idea of John Linson, the movie was written by Andrew Baldwin, and is centered on the character of Nick Lowell. Starred by the Academy Award winner, Jared Leto

Synopsis (no spoilers)

The story is about a postwar American soldier, Nick Lowell, who gets a way out from the prison where he is kept, thanks to the help of his yakuza cellmate, Kiyoshi (Tadanobu Asano). Once out, Nick becomes a member of that Japanese mafia clan and soon finds himself in the middle of a war to control the city of Osaka and all its illegal activities. The kind of dangerous life he was born for. At least until love gets into the picture.

I am here to ask you to let me kill him - Nick Lowell (Jared Leto)Click To Tweet

The Outsider: Jared Leto

The Outsider: Jared Leto joins Yakuza

One-Breath Review

The Outsider clearly develops around Leto’s character and abilities. Nick is a feelingless man who enters a world he doesn’t know and climbs his way up to the top of an organization built on strict rules, respect, and tradition. An interesting point of view about cultural contrasts and differences in a society living a deep, internal transformation. The use of violence is quite frequent, a lot of blood gets on screen creating an interesting chromatic contrast with Leto’s white outfits and skin tone. A contrast that has a central role in every part of the film, including the dialogs. 

You are my brother - Kiyoshi (Tabanobu Asano)Click To Tweet

The Outsider: tattoos

The Outsider: Yakuza tattoos

Audience and critical response

Apparently, The Outsider didn’t get a very positive response so far. On Rotten Tomatoes the movie currently has a 15% of positive reviews, while – on Metacritic – it has a score of 30 out of 100. The only website with a slightly positive valuation is IMDB, with a score of 6.4 out of 10. The reason might be that, after a jump start, The Outsider slows down a bit and makes it more difficult for the spectator to engage. In any case, it is a must-watch for Japanese culture lovers and for admirers of the Irezumi tattoos.

Fun Fact

Nick Lowell role was originally meant to be played by Tom Hardy under the movie direction of Takashi Miike. When Hardy declined the offer due to other projects, Miike decided to drop the job as well. The Outsider production froze until Jared Leto accepted the leading role. The actor had to grow his beard during whole 2016 to assume the appearance of a jail prisoner.



Review summary
Review Date
Outsider (2018)

Paolo Rizz
Paolo Rizz
Addicted to reading (good books and screenplays), watching (movies and TV series), writing (mainly bad stuff), learning (anything supposed to make me a better person). I am an online reviewer writing for different media (at night), I currently live in Barcelona (Spain). And yes, I do love parenthesis.

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