Lisa Schwarzbaum
April 10, 1998 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Fireworks

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
performer
Kayoko Kishimoto, Takeshi Kitano
director
Takeshi Kitano

We gave it an A

In his native Japan, where he’s known as Beat Takeshi, Takeshi Kitano is a wild and wildly popular one-man entertainment conglomerate — comedian, novelist, columnist, TV and radio personality, painter, actor, and director. Stone-faced Kitano wrote, directed, and stars in this police-and-punks thriller as a cop with a lot on his plate: His daughter is dead, his wife is dying of leukemia, his partner is wheelchair-bound from a yakuza’s bullet, and he wants to settle accounts. (Artistic detail: The fantastical, primitivist paintings and drawings that appear throughout Fireworks are also by the filmmaker.)

Glimmers of Kitano’s deadpan humor peek through this rich and visually beautiful work that, for all its stylized violence, manages to convey stillness, sweetness, and affecting emotional depth. A

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