Detective Nishi is relieved from a stakeout to visit his sick wife in hospital. He is informed that she is terminally ill, and is advised to take her home. During his visit, a suspect shoots one detective dead and leaves Nishi’s partner, Horibe, paralyzed. Nishi leaves the police force to spend time with his wife at home, and must find a way to pay off his debts to the yakuza.

Credits: TheMovieDb.

Film Cast:

  • Yoshitaka Nishi: Takeshi Kitano
  • Nishi’s wife: Kayoko Kishimoto
  • Horibe: Ren Osugi
  • Nakamura: Susumu Terajima
  • The Scrap Yard Owner: Tetsu Watanabe
  • The Yakuza Hitman: Hakuryu
  • Criminal: Yasuei Yakushiji
  • Kudo: Tarou Itsumi
  • Doctor: Kenichi Yajima
  • Tanaka: Makoto Ashikawa
  • Tanaka’s widow: Yûko Daike
  • Businessman Throwing Rocks: Tsumami Edamame
  • Chef #1: Yūrei Yanagi
  • Chef #2: Sujitarô Tamabukuro
  • Old Hick: Tokio Seki
  • Chief Detective: Motoharu Tamura
  • Yakuza Head: Hitoshi Nishizawa
  • …: Hiromi Kikai
  • Girl Who Flies Kite: Shoko Kitano
  • Hoodlum B: Yoshiyuki Morishita
  • …: Junichiro Asano
  • …: Kazuhiro Osada
  • Man shot in face: Manzô Shinra
  • …: Tetsu Sakuma
  • …: Riba Matsumi
  • …: Miki Fujitani
  • Nurse A: Keiko Yamamoto
  • Nurse B: Kiyoko Kitazawa
  • A girl in the scrap shop: Ai Kishina
  • …: Banri Nakamura
  • …: Takao Bokuji
  • …: Masahiro Naya
  • Detective B: Takayuki Konishi
  • …: Yûzô Yada
  • …: Kanji Tsuda
  • …: Yôichi Nagai
  • …: Kôsuke Ôta
  • …: Muhômatsu
  • …: Omiya no Matsu
  • …: Shiyô Kosuga
  • …: Gambino Kobayashi
  • …: Al Kitago
  • …: Yûji Aikawa
  • …: Hiroshi Umeda
  • …: Kenji Yamagami
  • …: Tomoya Naitô
  • …: Katsuya Takamatsu
  • …: Yasufumi Sakamaki
  • …: Atsushi Ito
  • …: Mitsuyo Ishigaki
  • …: Ayako Masuya
  • …: Sumiko Takai
  • …: Mariko Chiba
  • …: Miho Kitahara
  • …: Yoshiko Andô
  • …: Kaoru Sugiyama
  • …: Kikuo Itô
  • …: Shûji Ôtsuki
  • Male Bank Customer #3: Setchin Kawaya
  • …: Koichiro Hama
  • …: Masaru Takahashi
  • …: Ritsuyo Ono
  • …: Yôko Imamoto
  • …: Kiyoko Negishi
  • …: Saki Kaneko
  • …: Kaoru Tomoe
  • …: Ayu Nakagawa
  • …: Rieko Motohashi
  • …: Maiko Watanabe
  • …: Kazue Fujita
  • …: Yuki Iida
  • …: Ryôta Koyama

Film Crew:

  • Original Music Composer: Joe Hisaishi
  • Writer: Takeshi Kitano
  • Editor: Yoshinori Ota
  • Art Direction: Norihiro Isoda
  • Producer: Takio Yoshida
  • Sound Designer: Senji Horiuchi
  • Set Decoration: Tatsuo Ozeki
  • Producer: Yasushi Tsuge
  • Director of Photography: Hideo Yamamoto
  • Assistant Director: Hiroshi Shimizu
  • Producer: Masayuki Mori
  • Costume Design: Masami Saitou
  • Co-Producer: Hiroshi Ishikawa
  • Sound Assistant: Masashi Furuya
  • Sound Recordist: Akira Nakano

Movie Reviews:

  • John Chard: Drop Dead.

    Hana-bi (AKA: Fireworks) is written and directed by Takeshi Kitano. It stars Kitano, Kayoko Kishimoto, Ren Osugi and Susumu Terajima. Music is by Joe Hisaishi and cinematography by Hideo Yamamoto.

    Yoshikata Nishi (Kitano) is a loose cannon police detective who quits the force after a tragic incident results in his partner, Horibe (Osugi), being confined to a wheelchair. His retirement brings him the time to care more for his seriously ill wife Miyuki (Kishimoto). Nishi can find no peace, though, more so as he has borrowed money from the Yakuza to pay for his wife’s needs, and they are growing impatient for the repayment…

    Very early in Kitano’s superb slice of Japanese neo-noir there is a piece of graffiti on the wall, it says “Drop Dead”, while Hisaishi’s music is a devilish accompaniment to the scene. It’s ominous and foreboding, setting the tone for what is to follow. Pic is deliberately paced, beautifully so, with the opening nonlinear approach and scattergun shifts in time adding a sort of psychological maelstrom to the impending narrative darkness.

    Yet to suggest it as a perpetually bleak picture is doing it a small disservice, for Kitano (himself working from a damaged psyche that occurred in real life) has this adroit eye for poetic beauty and human tenderness that marries up with bursts of violence and emotionally shattering passages of play. And it works brilliantly, with stabs of humour also filtering in via the outer frames.

    Nishi the character is a force of nature and a walking – brooding – contradiction, a man pained behind his sunglasses, his expressionless visage amazingly still saying so much. When he explodes the impact is doubly strong, mainly because dialogue is so sparse, but the interwoven visuals – very much a Kitano speciality – strike an almighty chord for the story. To which we edge towards the finale, which unsurprisingly brings beauty and infinite sadness.

    Unfussy camera work, sabre sharp editing (Kitano & Yoshinori Oota), elegiacal musical arrangements, art, kites and Kitano’s intense performance, this rounds out as film making greatness. In fact, a masterpiece. 10/10

  • r96sk: There’s greatness in there, for sure, but ‘Fireworks’ (or, the better title, ‘Hana-bi’) drags on for too long.

    I was with it for the first 45-55 minutes, but the final portion of the film really dragged for me; aside from a few moments, it kinda just repeats the same sorta scenes over and over. Like, personally, I got it… needed a bit more to it, in my opinion.

    There are some very good performances, no doubt. Takeshi Kitano is the obvious star of the show, though I was also impressed by Ren Osugi – who is just as excellent as the aforementioned writer, producer and director of this 1997 flick. The support cast are solid, while everything onscreen looks neat too.

    I did like this overall, but I can’t say it hit me as much as it evidently has for others. Worth a watch, either way.

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