4 out of 5
Directed by: Takashi Miike
This is the 98-minute “international” version of Sukiyaki Western Django, versus the near 2-hour one that was the initial release in Japan.
On the whole, my review of the longer version applies here, although I will say that the international cut is, for sure, the superior version. There are a couple of oddball beats that are cut out – one part of a sex scene; an unfortunate “masculinity” joke – and the sequences around those beats are much better for them. Otherwise, most of the snipping is small, and the movie shifts between its sections more fluidly with these changes. This does lessen some of the surreal vibe of the “original,” which has its appeal, but definitely makes it a tighter, more enjoyable film as a result. The trade-off beyond that, I’d say, is that some of the relationships aren’t afforded the extra glances or lines that gave them some context, which means the emotional impact of the movie is stronger, but limits some of the characters to figureheads moreso than better realized (on screen) roles. But again, as the overall experience ends up being better for it (including the addition of subtitles to assist with some difficult lines), this is the way to go, and it’s worth noting that Miike willfully made these cuts after the initial reception of the movie, making the shorter one, in my mind, more akin to a director’s cut.