Kitano'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.