How many truly unique films have come out since the year 2000? Not too many. In an age of remakes, rehashes, and parodies, where every film by every director looks exactly the same, it's hard to find an innovative film, especially in the "comedy" genre. Yet once again Kitano delivers in this surreal comedy gem that is unique, deeply personal, affecting on a spiritual level, and is absolutely HILARIOUS.
Takeshi's previous film, "Takeshis'" was a surreal compilation of every film Kitano had made prior to it. This film is something of a compilation of all the kinds of films he hasn't made yet. The first half of this film explores that to a hilarious degree, but the second half is when this film really shines. Some of the most off-the-wall, UNREAL humor I've ever seen in a film, specifically a brief animated part near the end that is probably the greatest scene I've ever seen in a film, period.
Though for nostalgic reasons, my PERSONAL favorite Kitano films will always be "Hana-Bi" and "Sonatine", I have noticed that Takeshi has actually been getting better and better in recent years (excluding "Zatoichi") as he is starting to explore the more surreal, beautiful, and bizarre moments only hinted at in his first few films. Indeed, like many people, I find Takeshi to be the best director currently working in the world today, and his films are always gems... he's completely tearing apart the very essence of cinema, yet still not jumping into a black hole of impenetrable artiness. "Art for art's sake", maybe, but this is still some brilliant, hilarious stuff, and I'm very happy Takeshi is taking all the money he earns from his acting and personal appearances and pouring them into these brilliant films. The "critics" and Japanese audiences may not care for them, but I'm sure in 10-20 years from now, these films be looked upon as classics of cinema.
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