A beautiful film. Artfully unsentimental and anti-transcendental yet touching and true. The film reflects an uncomfortable truth about humanity; we cannot be placed in boxes. The people we would rather hate are not monsters. They are just broken. But somewhere still exists that glorious illusion of humanity. There is no life changing resolution or clichÃ© redemption to be found in Kikujiro, just a tale of a hardened man who finds that there is still something soft within.
Time Out saysKitano's violence-free 'road movie' (inspired by The Wizard of Oz, he says) is his most idiosyncratic film yet. He plays Kikujiro, a gone-to-seed yakuza who reluctantly looks after a small boy during summer vacation. On impulse they set off across country (initially in a stolen taxi) in search of the kid's absent mother. Strange things happen on the road, including odd dreams and encounters with punks, bikers, and a paedophile; Takeshi's ex-partner 'Beat' Kiyoshi pops up as a man at a bus stop. But there's no moral turning point; it's not a rite-of-passage story. The episodes are more like chapters from a child's picture book: memories-to-be in the making. Shot and cut in the distinctive Kitano style, the film has great spontaneity. The comedy elements bring the author's two personae, writer/director Takeshi Kitano and TV comedian 'Beat' Takeshi, closer together than ever before.