Before I get into anything, I'll admit the film was pretty funny. I laughed more than a few times, and I wasn't alone. There were definitely some funny moments. Now to my impressions, and I'll include some high level feedback I got from others as well. I'm a mid-tier Kitano fan. I've seen a handful of his directorial films, and many of the films he's acted in. I went with two other people (bear with me, this has a purpose), one of which has seen all of his films, another who hasn't seen a single film by Kitano. Why do I mention this? Because I think it might be one of the keys to enjoying this film As mentioned in the synopsis, the film is about his life. It starts with Beat Kitano the superstar, and follows him around "off set" to give the viewer an idea of what he's face in his daily life. At some point he comes across a "Mr. Kitano" (also played by Beat) in which the story starts to explore the fantasy world of this "Mr. Kitano" who idolizes Beat. While fantasizing, he touches on aspects of his others films, and this is where the experience will differ depending on your prior "Kitano" experience. There were a few scenes I laughed at, where as my friend who had not seen a single Kitano film look puzzled. On the other hand, there were some scenes in which I didn't really react, yet my friend who is a "Kitano Fan" smiled from ear to ear. I guess what I'm trying to say is while I think anyone can enjoy this film, it really seems to truly experience what Kitano was trying to do you have to know a little about his other films. If you don't have prior knowledge, I'd be willing to bet by the end you'll question if 25-30 minutes of the film couldn't have been removed with little impact on the end result. One of the question I thought about while watching the film was why the movie moved so far way from Beat? I actually found the Beat segments to be more enjoyable than the later part of the film, but unfortunately Beat doesn't remain in the film for long before he runs into "Mr Kitano". I also wonder if he didn't spend too much time exploring this fantasy world, and the end resulted in too much for the viewer. It was fun at first, but I'll admit as much as I love art film, this started to get a bit redundant after a while. I'd also like to mention that the film (at least in my eyes) is by far his most "artsy" film to date. It almost seemed Ki-Duk like at times, as the last 40 minutes or so of the film had very, very little dialog. Somewhat like HWAL. Anyhow, I'd probably give the film something between a 7 and 8. I'm pretty sure it's going to get some outstanding reviews, as critics who've had more experience with Kitano should get more out of the film. When the DVD drops I might give it another spin.
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Beat Takeshi, a prominent actor, meets a lookalike named Kitano, who is a struggling actor, but after the meeting, Kitano's dreams take a violent, surreal turn.
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April 6, 2019