Sanctuary (Japan 1995)

Rating: ***

A faithful live action adaptation of the anime of the manga, featuring moving performances, an awesome musical score, and really silly sideburns. Asami Chiako and Hojo Akira are childhood buddies and Cambodian refugees who have dedicated their lives to reforming politically corrupt Japan. Hojo went underground to become a Yakuza boss while Asami took the path of becoming an elected official. The result is a stunning look at Japanese society and politics, sprinkled with honor, intrigue, violence, corruption, and decay. Sort of slow, but consistent, with intense performances by everyone (except for maybe the female police superintendent - she was rather lacking). Great looking, well made, and recommended.