On your climb to the top of your chosen business, you must always try to remember the people who you surpassed and the past that you rejected. If you do not, according to most movie logic, it will come to bite you in the butt. In yet another example of this adage, Intimidation pits a lowly bank clerk against the assistant manager who just took another position at corporate.
Kyosuke Takita is a confident and weasel assistant manager at a well performing bank. We meet him when he is getting a farewell dinner thrown for him. He is on his way to the very top, rising easily through the schemes he hatches. Left in his shadow, Matakiche Nakiake is still a bank clerk, beaten down from years of beration by Takita and his sister, Yukie. Their relationship changes the moment that a masked man comes into the life of Takita. He threatens to expose his dirty dealings and affairs if he doesn’t give up a large sum of money. Stuck between a rock and a hard place, Takita takes advantage of the “friendship” (it is more like a servant-master relationship) of Nakiake by getting him drunk and then visiting him while he is supposed to be watching over the bank with a mask over his face and a gun jabbing him in the ribs. I don’t want to give away the rest of the movie, so I will stop there.
This movie is barely an hour long and this gives the action a breathlessness that I found intriguing. You barely get used to one situation before things are warped into something different. But as the narrative speeds along, the relationship of Takita and Nakiake evolves slowly. At the beginning, Takita is the dominant one, illustrated by his position at the head of a table at the dinner held in his honor. Meanwhile Nakiake sits to the side and goes into the kitchen to warm his sake for him. But as Takita becomes more and more stressed, the soft-spoken Nakiake becomes more the focus of the film and the quietly strong man. His decisions become more precise and he seems to have more control over the damage Takita is foolishly inflicting him. This is what makes the movie more than just another film noir.