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A Family aka Yakuza and the Family (2021) – English Review

We follow a man over several decades. He’s a member of a yakuza clan, and he will never fully escape from this clan and his criminal life, even if he wants to.

This is an interesting movie where the protagonist becomes a criminal early in his life after his father died. After a while, he becomes a member of a yakuza clan. He doesn’t have much to live for. His family is the clan he’s a member of. Then he meets a woman he likes. But when he first meets a person who might change his life for the better, something happens that will cost him dearly.

You never feel sorry for the protagonist. The choices he makes are his own choices. He’s never pressured into anything. From the moment we follow him, he’s a bad seed. He doesn’t have a future waiting for him. So he isn’t a deep character with multiple layers.

What I liked best was following the protagonist through several decades where he works his way up in the yakuza clan, to then turn his life upside down 14 years later.

It’s interesting to see how the law changes, and the consequences that follow for the yakuza clans. I felt a little bad for the protagonist and his friend when they try to be law-abiding citizens. But the society constantly reminds them of their past, and people they have a relationship with also get involved and punished, even if they are innocent. Talk about helping those who need help the most! Go Japan!

The actors are good, and it was especially nice to see Yukiya Kitamura again. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen him. He was so charming in the comedy movies he was in, and he’s good in this movie as well.

A Family is a well-acted and interesting movie where the protagonist is caught between two stools. Because of his past, he also makes life difficult for people he has contact with. The new laws make life difficult for former yakuza members, and I felt the new laws weren’t fair for former yakuza members. Society doesn’t give them a helping hand at all. So what are they going to do?

Rating: 7/10

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