Branded To Kill was so aesthetically adventurous that it blacklisted Seijun Suzuki for ten years - and it's not difficult to see why. Virtually all narrative, characterization and dialogue is subordinated to an imagistic condensation and distortion of the yakuza genre. Tropes which would have been second nature to a Japanese audience of the time are inverted and reinvented, frequently sprawling out into surreal dream sequences in which hallucination and action converge into a tactile proximity to the celluloid apparatus that seems to belong equally to audience and protagonist. This is film about film - characters are constantly conversing at or across celluloid, while Suzuki's uncanny knack for imbuing every cut with a residual non sequitur produces a concatenation of concrete, prefabricated images that the characters manipulate to the best of their ability, usually unsuccessfully. What little arc the film possesses comes from the ongoing rivalry between "No. 1 Hitman" and "No. 2 Hitman" - a rivalry whose common goal is to exterminate every sight-line in the deserted, hypermodern cityscapes against which the action unfolds. Every cut anticipates this extermination, as Suzuki exhibits a hypercubist prescience for every possible way of framing a mise-en-scene - or every possible disparity between visual and other sensory frames - culminating with a playful parody of Japanese censorship that simply blocks out everything but a single sight-line. It's an almost impossible film to watch - at least on first viewing - but it's the best kind of impossibility, challenging the audience to find a way through a scene it didn't even know it was in, and then look back at itself through celluloid.