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Kikujiro (Sous-titres français)

Takeshi Kitano , Yusuke Sekiguchi , Takeshi Kitano    DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 49.73
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When words like "sweet" pop up in a review of a Takeshi Kitano film, you want to check that billing again. But yes, this really is Beat Takeshi, the funkiest dead-eyed gangster in Japanese cinema, in a gooey road movie about a glum orphan and a bumbling would-be tough guy who becomes his droopy guardian angel. The shambling walk is the same, as is the blank expression that twists into a cockeyed smile, and the film erupts (albeit infrequently) into sadistic bouts of petty violence. Takeshi is something between a gruff teddy bear and a bully as the former criminal turned unlikely babysitter who, on a whim, decides to hit the road in search of the kid's long lost mother.

Whimsical adventures and silly games are punctuated by violent beatings: despite its moments of sweetness and offbeat humor, this is no family film. In one scene the downcast orphan struggles with a child molester who is trying to yank down his underwear before Takeshi rescues him. It's an uncomfortable scene that is inexplicably played for uneasy humor, the most extreme example of the film's ambiguous tone. Kitano never gets the film under control and the sweetness gets cloying at times, but he invests it with hilarious moments of bizarre, deadpan humor. Though hardly his best, this is without a doubt his strangest film to date, and that's saying something. --Sean Axmaker

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Kitano does a family film... July 3 2004
I'm a huge fan of the films from Takeshi Kitano. I've seen all of his films he's directed (including the newer Dolls and Zatoichi) and I can say that I enjoy almost *cough Boiling Point* all of them and I really like his style of filmaking.
This plot here is about a young boy named Masao who just got out from school for the summer. He doesn't have many friends nor does he have much to do. After getting what appears to be a package of photos from his mother who Masao has never met before. A friend of his grandmother decides to let her husband Kikujiro (Kitano himself) take Masao on the journey. Misadventures and comedy follow.
Kitano has always been known for his crime films and dramas but this is the first time he's made a tolerable comedy-drama with his trademark subtle humor, slow pace and un-cilched style. If you've seen his films then you know what I'm talking about. He takes those qualities and makes a unique film with them. The acting here is pretty good for the most part, especially from Takeshi who is known for being a more silent actor, here he's a sluggish, rude and mean loudmouth with an attitude against almost everyone. It shows in some scenes where he lashes out on everyone around him. It's funny but almost absurd.
Now one gripe I have with the film is an almost gratuitious scene where a pedophile comes onto Masao. Nothing sexual happens but Kitano does get the sick bastard back in a funny way. That scene really takes away from the film.
Still this is a funny film. It's great to watch on a warm summer afternoon with the volume up loud. The soundtrack is done by Joe Hisaishi who's done some excellent work with Kitano in the past. The music makes you feel real good inside and it flows awfully well with the pace of the movie.
I recommend this highly.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The gloomy boy and the ex-thug March 15 2004
Takeshi "Beat" Kitano got his start as a comedian in Japan, before his movie transformation into the familiar deadeyed killer. "Kikujiro" shows that he has not forgotten his roots. Here, the two Takeshi's blend in the character of an ex-Yakuza, who may not have a heart of gold, but at least bronze. Together with the gloomiest boy in Japan, they head off in a traditional road movie full of bumbles and discoveries.
"Kikujiro" is an incredibly sweet and of-kilter film. Quirky, subtly humorous, at times intense and disturbing, at times charming and disarming, Takeshi guides the film across the winding course of its plot, encountering a host of equally odd characters and situations. A woman juggler and her boyfriend the human robot, the fat and skinny bikers and the hippy thief all join in the journey with our odd couple. With each additional cast member, the story takes another unexpected twist.
While a comedy, don't expect any gut-busting laughs. The humor is more bizarre and situational, the laughs are more smirks and good feelings. The pace is slow and patient, taking a long time to build the story and the characters.
The images are beautiful, and the director takes some chances with his camera work that all work out well. "Kikujiro" is daring in its own way, while remaining heartwarming and affectionate.
An excellent, highly recommended film.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A fun film, but too long at some points Jan. 31 2004
In this delighful film Masao, a gloomy, lonely elementary school student decides to travel south to find his mother who abandoned him with his grandmother several years ago. Unfortunately for our young hero he has little money and his destination is quite a ways off. However, luckily, or maybe unluckily, for, he encounters two of his grandmother's ormer neighbors: a tough talking woman and a former yakuza, played by Kitano Takeshi. The woman feeling sorry for the young boy, has her husband escourt the young boy to his mother's home, giving her husband 50,000 yen for travel expenses. Unfourtunately, instead of using the money to make a quick trip to their destination, the former yakuza gambles the money away at a bicycle race. This episode begins a sequence of events that results in the unlikely duo meeting vast variety of individuals, including two not so tough bikers, a traveling musician, a juggling girl and her boyfriend, a scary man, and many many others.
If you are expecting the same Kitano Takeshi in this film as he appearx in _Fireworks_ or _Violent Cop_ prepare to be surprised. Kitano's character in this film, although he can be quite rude and crass, is really a sweet guy at heart, and it shows through out the film in the compassion and concern he shows for Masao. However, this compassion can be a bit too saccharine at times, such as when Kitano's character, the musician, and the two bikers, camp out and play with Masao. There are some funny scenes here, but it makes you feel like you are going to become a sugar cube at any moment. Also, there are also a couple of disturbing scenes in this movie such as when Masao meets the scary man who promises to take him to his mother. I won't say why, but guard yourself when you see the bald man. Overall this is a good film that seems to drag at points, but makes up for it with a few very funny sequences.
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5.0 out of 5 stars So Amazingly Unique... July 9 2003
Kikujiro is a the kind of film that you wouldn't expect to see coming from a man who did Violent Cop, Sonatine, and Hana-Bi (Fireworks) It's because of this point that the movie is so extremely refreshing. The story may not be the most original, but the execution of it all gives it life.
A combination of the sentimentality of Hana-Bi (Fireworks) and the just-plain-weird humor of Sonatine is the best way to describe this comedy-drama. Just like in his previous films, Kikujiro has an undertone of sadness throughout the entire movie, even during the funniest scenes. That brings me to another high-point of the movie: Beat Takeshi. This was only the second Kitano film I've seen after the U.S. cut of Brother. After watching the characters he played in both movies, it was hard to realize that they were being played by the same person. His humor and wit are so genuine, and the fact that he doesn't rely on cheap tactics to get laughs like U.S. humor gives this movie one more star itself.
If you want a movie so original in execution and is genuine in almost every sense, then you MUST pick up Kikujiro. It's appeal is international.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful film
I caught this film while channel surfing and I'm so glad to discover this. I laughed and cried at the same time. Read more
Published on Feb. 14 2008 by K. Gomez
5.0 out of 5 stars A very feel-good movie
Obviously different from any other Kitano movie, this one is still worth seeing. It shows that Takeshi Kitano's unique, and strangely lovable, acting and directing style can work... Read more
Published on Aug. 15 2006 by Colin Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!!!
This was funny funny funny!! Hard to believe that such a film was made by director known in the states for more "hard-hitting" action films. Read more
Published on June 23 2004 by "predestined88"
5.0 out of 5 stars A good movie without real excitement
This is the perfect example that shows how a movie can be exceptional without any action or excitement. Read more
Published on May 3 2004 by Tom Tsukuhara
5.0 out of 5 stars the best feel good movie i have seen!
this is one of the finest works of takeshi kitano! it has the elements of drama, comedy and almost everything a viewer would like to see in a movie! Read more
Published on Sept. 14 2003 by chee
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Brilliant...
...cinema. Words at first fail me when I try to describe the wonder that is this film. Even if you are one who has a hard time reading the text in a subtitled film you will... Read more
Published on Jan. 11 2003 by Baer Bradford
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Brilliant...
...cinema. Words at first fail me when I try to describe the wonder that is this film. Even if you are one who has a hard time reading the text in a subtitled film you will... Read more
Published on Jan. 11 2003 by Baer Bradford
5.0 out of 5 stars Yakusa undone
Those of you who are used to Takeshi Kitano movies may be in for a surprise with this one. The first time I watched this movie I was engulfed in a waterfall of emotions from... Read more
Published on Dec 3 2002 by "shogunbeat"
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Work
I have seen Brother, which included Takeshi Kitano, and I loved him in that film. But after renting this movie from Blockbuster, I will definitely buy it to have as part of my... Read more
Published on July 31 2002 by Forrest Popkin
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