Reviews

  • Jan 05, 2021

    This is one of the most overrated films of the past 25 years. Filled with painfully contrived scenes, bad acting, totally gratuitous violence, and really dismal writing, it clearly benefited unduly from the international Japan obsession of the 1990s (and perhaps pity for the director, who had previously been through a rough time due to a car accident). It has an amateurish quality to the direction that is hard to stomach, and it's amazing to see reviewers clamouring to make excuses for that. I didn't hate everything about it; Takeshi's performance was interesting (but that's it for me). Don't get me wrong, this film is average, not terrible, but it absolutely doesn't deserve all the gush and hype.

    This is one of the most overrated films of the past 25 years. Filled with painfully contrived scenes, bad acting, totally gratuitous violence, and really dismal writing, it clearly benefited unduly from the international Japan obsession of the 1990s (and perhaps pity for the director, who had previously been through a rough time due to a car accident). It has an amateurish quality to the direction that is hard to stomach, and it's amazing to see reviewers clamouring to make excuses for that. I didn't hate everything about it; Takeshi's performance was interesting (but that's it for me). Don't get me wrong, this film is average, not terrible, but it absolutely doesn't deserve all the gush and hype.

  • Sep 09, 2020

    An unusual crime drama, almost noir. With the Director providing acting, production and art in the film. I did enjoy it up until the end. I felt there I was left unsatisfied with the note it left on. Regardless, it was exciting and I enjoyed it. Saw on TCM.

    An unusual crime drama, almost noir. With the Director providing acting, production and art in the film. I did enjoy it up until the end. I felt there I was left unsatisfied with the note it left on. Regardless, it was exciting and I enjoyed it. Saw on TCM.

  • May 24, 2020

    Hana-bi, released in the United States as Fireworks, is a 1997 Japanese crime drama film written, directed and edited by Takeshi Kitano 🍿 Oof, this is rotten 🙁 Don't bother seeing it 👎🏼👎🏼 Bonus half-point for the music

    Hana-bi, released in the United States as Fireworks, is a 1997 Japanese crime drama film written, directed and edited by Takeshi Kitano 🍿 Oof, this is rotten 🙁 Don't bother seeing it 👎🏼👎🏼 Bonus half-point for the music

  • Apr 30, 2020

    I've read that this actor/director has made more than 100 films so far (I've only seen half a dozen I can remember) - but I can't imagine him making a finer film than this one...Though it's a given that any film of Kitano's will have it's share of bloody violence , I've never seen such a combination of beautiful film work, jazzy music and -in spite of Kitano's stoic personality being so "in' to the strong , silent type that he outdoes even Charles Bronson when it comes to supressing all emotion when dealing with adversaries, there's a true sense of sadness shown toward his interactions with his slowly dying wife...All these elements lift this film from just being another bloody Yakuza crime film to a truly existential work of art ... For me , this japanese "Bad Boy" really hit a "Home Run" with "Hana-Bi"....

    I've read that this actor/director has made more than 100 films so far (I've only seen half a dozen I can remember) - but I can't imagine him making a finer film than this one...Though it's a given that any film of Kitano's will have it's share of bloody violence , I've never seen such a combination of beautiful film work, jazzy music and -in spite of Kitano's stoic personality being so "in' to the strong , silent type that he outdoes even Charles Bronson when it comes to supressing all emotion when dealing with adversaries, there's a true sense of sadness shown toward his interactions with his slowly dying wife...All these elements lift this film from just being another bloody Yakuza crime film to a truly existential work of art ... For me , this japanese "Bad Boy" really hit a "Home Run" with "Hana-Bi"....

  • Mar 06, 2020

    Beautiful. Cinematography like the paintings shown. Understated, subtle. Unusual. Adjectival.

    Beautiful. Cinematography like the paintings shown. Understated, subtle. Unusual. Adjectival.

  • Jan 19, 2019

    I saw "Dolls" last week, so this was my second Takeshi Kitano flick in a few days. This is similiar, but also so very different. A cop has a sick wife fighting leukemia. At the same time a partner of his got shot and is becoming sucidal as he is being confined to a wheelchair. While his friend is coping with it by painting some pictures, out main man is turning into a yakuza as he quit his regular job. There are many killings here, some amount of blood and a bit of action. I guess his wife never knew much about it but when he is around her he is a very different man. This film is sad, brutal and sad. The murder scenes look really realistic and the way the man has two very different lives and outer shells is making and impact. It's prety well shot, and there are glimmers of the great scenery and camera usage that "Dolls" had. For me it's not as good, even if the story has a bit faster pace. It's not fast, though, even a bit too slow at times. A solid drama and a clash of beauty and violence, the gentle and the rugged side of a man knowing his true passion is dying. Artsy but also rather typical, and the mix is OK, but not great for me. 6.5 out of 10 tire chains.

    I saw "Dolls" last week, so this was my second Takeshi Kitano flick in a few days. This is similiar, but also so very different. A cop has a sick wife fighting leukemia. At the same time a partner of his got shot and is becoming sucidal as he is being confined to a wheelchair. While his friend is coping with it by painting some pictures, out main man is turning into a yakuza as he quit his regular job. There are many killings here, some amount of blood and a bit of action. I guess his wife never knew much about it but when he is around her he is a very different man. This film is sad, brutal and sad. The murder scenes look really realistic and the way the man has two very different lives and outer shells is making and impact. It's prety well shot, and there are glimmers of the great scenery and camera usage that "Dolls" had. For me it's not as good, even if the story has a bit faster pace. It's not fast, though, even a bit too slow at times. A solid drama and a clash of beauty and violence, the gentle and the rugged side of a man knowing his true passion is dying. Artsy but also rather typical, and the mix is OK, but not great for me. 6.5 out of 10 tire chains.

  • Jan 20, 2018

    Much like American filmmakers beforehand, the main character who is driven to desperate measures to serve something greater and there is a voyeuristic view withing each scene. Takeshi Kitano takes all of those plus tugs on heartstrings on the unconditional love he gives his friends and family. In exchange, it costs him his sanity and in turn his life. The way the film is shot and edited gives us a dreamy happiness in a dreary world. Most films can't have it achieve either way without teetering one or the other. Do we feel sorry for this troubled figure especially who is willing to give more than he is capable of? Well, that's up for the viewers to decide. Good movies like this can achieve in holding that idea in your head long after you finish watching.

    Much like American filmmakers beforehand, the main character who is driven to desperate measures to serve something greater and there is a voyeuristic view withing each scene. Takeshi Kitano takes all of those plus tugs on heartstrings on the unconditional love he gives his friends and family. In exchange, it costs him his sanity and in turn his life. The way the film is shot and edited gives us a dreamy happiness in a dreary world. Most films can't have it achieve either way without teetering one or the other. Do we feel sorry for this troubled figure especially who is willing to give more than he is capable of? Well, that's up for the viewers to decide. Good movies like this can achieve in holding that idea in your head long after you finish watching.

  • Apr 04, 2017

    Melancholily scored by Joe Hisaishi and showcasing aesthetic art pieces by the director himself, Takeshi Kitano slow burns with this very pensive cop drama about an ill-starred policeman commanding sudden bursts of violence and unexpected acts of benevolence in a thug life he did not choose.

    Melancholily scored by Joe Hisaishi and showcasing aesthetic art pieces by the director himself, Takeshi Kitano slow burns with this very pensive cop drama about an ill-starred policeman commanding sudden bursts of violence and unexpected acts of benevolence in a thug life he did not choose.

  • Sep 21, 2015

    Understated for the sake of underlining its existential musings, Hana-Bi evokes an overwhelming sense of both extreme sadness and extreme joy, choosing to observe man at his most violent as well as his most open. It would be nearly impossible for a lesser director to reconcile these two styles in a way that is both cohesive and constructive in terms of tone, but Kitano pulls it off so that these conflicting sources of tension manifest themselves in such a way that the effect isn't the least bit uncomfortable and is, instead, entirely unforgettable.

    Understated for the sake of underlining its existential musings, Hana-Bi evokes an overwhelming sense of both extreme sadness and extreme joy, choosing to observe man at his most violent as well as his most open. It would be nearly impossible for a lesser director to reconcile these two styles in a way that is both cohesive and constructive in terms of tone, but Kitano pulls it off so that these conflicting sources of tension manifest themselves in such a way that the effect isn't the least bit uncomfortable and is, instead, entirely unforgettable.

  • May 13, 2015

    Récompensé à Venise, le septième film de Kitano Takeshi est un remarquable drame sur un ancien policier qui décide de partir en voyage avec sa femme très malade. Tantôt très émouvant, tantôt hilarant, tantôt effroyablement violent, Hana-Bi est surtout constamment beau, que ce soit visuellement ou idéologiquement, grâce à une réalisation qui prend son temps sans non plus tirer en longueur et des acteurs fabuleux, Kitano en tête, Kishimoto Kayoko et Terajima Susumu tout autant dans un autre registre. Dommage que le film ait un ventre mou.

    Récompensé à Venise, le septième film de Kitano Takeshi est un remarquable drame sur un ancien policier qui décide de partir en voyage avec sa femme très malade. Tantôt très émouvant, tantôt hilarant, tantôt effroyablement violent, Hana-Bi est surtout constamment beau, que ce soit visuellement ou idéologiquement, grâce à une réalisation qui prend son temps sans non plus tirer en longueur et des acteurs fabuleux, Kitano en tête, Kishimoto Kayoko et Terajima Susumu tout autant dans un autre registre. Dommage que le film ait un ventre mou.