Kikujiro (2000)

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Bad tempered small-time criminal Takeshi Kitano is “volunteered” to take a young boy to meet the mother he has never known, and after blowing all their money at the track they resort to hitch-hiking to meet a mix of oddballs along the way.

Anyone familiar with the films of Beat Takeshi will know of his formula of crime drama punctuated by comic snapshots of “gangsters at play”, but here he ditches the whole gangster element leaving a warm if slightly aimless character study-cum-road movie. There is little in the way of narrative or drama, the story instead concentrating on the relationship between the boy and Kitano’s worst-role-model-ever of a father figure and their comic mishaps. It may be because I’m a little too hard-bitten and cynical, but for me this wasn’t quite enough; there are laughs and some nice images, but when a film dispenses with narrative driven drama, an emotional connection must replace it, and I didn’t really feel it.

A pleasantly amusing tale, but it all felt a little slight and insubstantial to me.

6/10

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