Fireworks (Hana-Bi)

Reviewed by Dan Lybarger

June 18, 1998

In this dark, bloody and occasionally surreal crime drama that won a Golden Lion at the 1997 Venice Film festival, Japanese media phenomenon "Beat" Takeshi Kitano stars as Yoshitaka Nishi, a cop who quits the force after one of his partners dies and another is paralyzed. To aid his surviving friend and to pay off his debts to yakuza loan sharks, Nishi turns to robbery. The setup (Kitano also wrote and directed) is routine, and Fireworks frequently gets redundant and meandering. What makes the film worth investigating is Kitano's creative editing (he sometimes abandons chronological narrative and uses a lot of fascinating associative cuts) and his commanding screen presence (he looks a bit like John Garfield). He also did the paintings that frequently grace the screen. Fireworks could have been more shocking and its poetry more fluent if Kitano had made some more cuts. As it is, it's still pretty explosive. (N/R) Rating: 7.

 Additional Links

There is a decent Swedish site devoted to Kitano. It's in English. Click here to learn more.


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This page was last updated on 06/24/98.
Ó 1998 Dan Lybarger


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