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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)
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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
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful film Feb. 14 2008
I caught this film while channel surfing and I'm so glad to discover this. I laughed and cried at the same time. Any emotions that the main characters would not reveal was captured in the setting, always wide and lonely. The closeness between Mister and the little boy developed at just the right pace, never pushed or contrived. The flow of the film is necessary to draw out the right emotions from the viewer, deep and meaningful, leaving a sense of happiness and longing in the heart.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A very feel-good movie Aug. 16 2006
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 in a variety of settings. If you're looking for violence, you won't find anything of note here, but if you're looking for a heartwarming movie, one that lets you see Kitano at his acting best, this is a movie for you.
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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 Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!!! June 24 2004
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. For some, it will seem a little long and a tad slow, however, I thought the dialog alone negated those "faults". It has a sort of "Life is Beautiful" feel to it and Kitano tries to "paint" his scenes rather than just film them. Not everyone's cup of tea but they should at least take a sip!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A good movie without real excitement May 4 2004
This is the perfect example that shows how a movie can be exceptional without any action or excitement. For the narrow-minded movie-viewer, Kikujiro is just another boring foreign movie. As for the ones that are open, this film shows how kind some people can be even when things around them are harsh. One of the best things about Kikujiro is the music. At certain times, it can have an upbeat and happy tempo. When it is necessary, the music expresses a sense of being down, but still going on. Takeshi Kitano's character is a bad example for a father figure, but he learns to care for the boy that he guides. Nothing of significance is accomplished. However, that does not matter. Kikujiro is simply about life and the adventures we can have. That is why this film is one of my favorites that I can never get tired of.
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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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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A fun film, but too long at some points
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... Read more
Published on Jan. 31 2004 by Daitokuji31
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. 15 2003 by chee
5.0 out of 5 stars So Amazingly Unique...
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... Read more
Published on July 9 2003 by Aniki Tiger
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. 12 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. 12 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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