TAKESHIS' (Japanese)
  Publicity Stills of "Takeshis'"
(Courtesy from Lighthouse Pictures)

In Japanese (English & Chinese Subtitles)
Director: Takeshi Kitano
Starring: Takeshi Kitano, Kotomi Kyono, Kayoko Kishimoto, Ren Ohsugi, Susumu Terajima
RunTime: 1 hr 48 mins
Released By: Cathay-Keris Films & Lighthouse Pictures
Rating: M18

Website: http://www.office-kitano.co.jp/takeshis/

Opening Day: 9 March 2006

Synopsis :

Beat Takeshi lives the busy, and sometimes surreal, life of a show biz celebrity. But his blond lookalike named Kitano, a shy convenience store cashier, is still an unknown actor waiting for his big break. After crossing paths with Beat and a series of frustrating auditions, Kitano seems to mysteriously fall into a fantasy state highlighted by aspects of Beat's real life and violent onscreen persona...

Movie Review:

Do you sometimes fantasize about how your life could be like, if you were someone else, someone more successful? And how you picture events played out where you're the everlasting hero who gets the girl (or guy)? Sound familiar?

Takeshi "Beat" Kitano is one of Japan's multi-talented director-writer-actor, and in Takeshis', he plays not one, but two different characters in a tale of such fantasy. As a larger than life version of his successful self Beat Takeshi, he hams it up as the acclaimed actor with his posse of manager and girlfriend in tow, celebrating in his success in show business.

However, Takeshi's focus is on his other character, that of Kitano, a convenience store employee who harbours a dream to make it big in show business one day. He seems to have absolutely no luck with various auditions for simple roles, but from his disappointments come fuel for his rich imagination, especially when looked down upon by Beat Takeshi somewhat.

Still with me up to this point? Good, because the movie thereafter become a kaleidoscope of events that crosses the boundaries of "real", "reel" and "was-that-made-up?". The editing style will probably leave you wondering what really is, and is not. There are clues provided though, but not much, ranging from the obvious hair colour, to the logical transitions between scenes and events, even to illogical happenings.

There are many references in this movie from Takeshi's past works, but perhaps the most identifiable is the yakuza character, which is given the most screentime here. Though it gets a bit repetitive, what with its poetic slow motion gun battles with empty shells flying out of the chamber, and the cold blooded violence, it numbs the audience and having to dislike something is to have it done repeatedly until nauseating.

There's an ensemble cast in the movie who add colour to the challenging plot, like the girlfriend, the female stalker, an aunty-character who thinks Kitano owes her a living, 2 super-sized extras, the yakuza, and the list goes on. But what holds them all together are the Takeshis', and the thrill of having see some characters in different light, and in different scenarios. Kitano draws inspiration from, and fits into his world the people he encounters, and in most there always seem to be a comical angle.

It's not an easy act to follow, though if you try, you'll probably find certain joy from single acts which can stand alone. And that's perhaps one of the best ways to enjoy the movie, feel it, and don't get the least perturbed if certain events that transpire seem to dance around perceived timelines.

Movie Rating:

(Mesmerizing shades of Beat Takeshi caricatures in his multi-dimensional fantasy)

Review by Stefan Shih


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