Kikujiro (1998)

Takeshi Kitano directs himself, Yusuke Sekiguchi and Kayoko Kishimoto in this Japanese road movie where a low level thug takes a lonely boy to see his estranged mother for the summer.

Beat Takeshi and John Woo. These were the first international directors I really got into. The violence and the persuasive sense of cool helped. Takeshi is the more experimental filmmaker. He plays with quiet and irony and and randomness a lot more. His background in sketch comedy means his stories have a jerky quality – a series of cascading skits. But every scene has a point or a punchline. There’s very little filler… even though his mood is akin to Jim Jarmusch where his films also often consist of the everyday life moments that might happen between what a regular genre movie might show. This is Takeshi’s A Perfect World. A personal film that hits a sweet spot of comedy and drama. There’s issues of loneliness and masculinity subtly explored here that are quietly sophisticated but in the main it is a daft ditty where Takeshi’s low-level yakuza ruins (and makes) the journey with his selfish uncouth behaviour. His twitchy blank face and brutish but broke approach to any interaction generates constant amusing chaos. It follows the road less travelled and is all the better for it. The final half an hour after Kikujiro reaches its planned destination is just Takeshi, the kid and some other hard shoulder denizens engaging in zany play. Extraneous to what you expect but as fine as anything dictated by the needs of the story. The printed shirts are awesome. Joe Hisaishi’s music is possibly one of the best movie themes not in heavy rotation. This a great little labour of love movie, a change of key from the director’s crime flicks but very much of the same rhythm.


Check out my wife Natalie’s Horror blog

We also do a podcast together called The Worst Movies We Own. It is available on Spotify or here

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