Fireworks (Hana-bi)
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Actor and auteur Takeshi Kitano (who in Japan also uses the stage name "Beat" Takeshi, primarily for his work as a television comedian) wrote, directed, edited, and starred in this unusual crime drama. Nishi (Takeshi Kitano) is a policeman whose emotions seem to run only on two extreme paths -- either quiet contentment or brutal rage. Nishi's life is falling apart around him; his daughter was murdered, his wife, Miyuki (Kayoko Kishimoto), is dying of leukemia, his partner, Horibe (Ren Osugi), was ambushed by thugs after Nishi left him to visit his wife in the hospital and will… More
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 95%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Takeshi Kitano, who made it, must be very serene or very angry; only extreme states allow such a narrow focus."
‑ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"Kitano makes static, understated movies about existences wasted, and rediscovering the joy of being, for a brief time, alive.... Violence comes in sudden bursts, as a shocking interruption."
‑ Carlo Cavagna,
"Simultaneously coolly stylized and surprisingly emotionally persuasive."
‑ Maitland McDonagh, Film Journal International
"A fascinating film."
‑ Jeffrey M. Anderson, Combustible Celluloid
"Compared to [Takeshi] Kitano, Bruce Willis is a wimp, Harrison Ford is a creep, and Mel Gibson is a joke."
‑ Rob Nelson, City Pages, Minneapolis/St. Paul
"A really good example of character development by actions, without the benefit of dialog or mannerisms."
‑ Michael W. Phillips, Jr., Goatdog's Movies
"An exceptional piece of filmmaking, a drama that blurs the line between the ultra-violent cop movie genre and weepy but moving melodrama, and does it very convincingly."
‑ Jeff Vice, Deseret News, Salt Lake City
"This highly original film is at times a masterpiece and at other times it seems like a grade B-movie."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"Kitano uses his own face as a blank slate with which to sketch a complicated human being."
‑ Jaime N. Christley, Slant Magazine
"Moody drama from Takeshi Kitano."
‑ Phil Hall, Wired
"Richly satisfying to the emotions and the senses."
‑ Michael Dequina,
More reviews for Fireworks (Hana-bi) on Rotten Tomatoes