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Film / Hana-bi

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Hana-Bi (original title 花火, released in the US as Fireworks) is a Japanese film directed by Takeshi Kitano and released in 1997.

Nishi, a police detective with a violent temper, has quit his job after an incident that left his partner permanently wheelchair-bound. Upon learning that his wife has leukemia, he decides to help her spend what time she has left enjoying the simple pleasures of life. Unfortunately, to do this he has borrowed a lot of money from gangsters.


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Contains examples of:

  • Anachronic Order: Flashbacks are intercut with the "present" narrative throughout, and the flashbacks themselves are in Anachronic Order. For example, the bloody shootout that gets Tanaka killed is shown in a flashback, and then a later flashback shows the moments leading up to that shootout.
  • As You Know:
    • Opens with one of Horibe's friends asking him questions that he already knows about how Horibe and Nishi were childhood friends and Nishi's wife is sick.
    • One of the two yakuza trying to intimidate Nishi into paying up says "You know what we yakuza are like."
  • Bank Robbery: Nishi pulls it off on his own, without firing a shot nor saying a word. In full police uniform, no less.
  • Comforting Comforter: Nishi puts a blanket over his wife as she sleeps on the floor of their hotel room.
  • Cool Shades: Nishi wears them all the time. They also help clarify the Anachronic Order, as he doesn't wear them in the flashback scenes before the shootout.
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  • Downer Beginning: In the opening scene, Nishi goes to the hospital to visit his terminally ill wife. Then Horibe is shot and left paralyzed from the waist down; in the next scene he tells Nishi that his wife couldn't deal with it and left him.
  • Dramatic Gun Cock: Nishi does this during the bank robbery, calmly cocking his gun without saying a word in order to show the bank teller that he means business.
  • Eye Scream: Nishi does this to one of the Yakuza thugs that has come to collect the interest he owes them. With a pair of chopsticks. Both in the same eye.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Instead of showing the violent scenes themselves, the film abruptly cuts to the immediate aftermath.
  • Ill Girl: Or rather ill woman — Nishi's wife Miyuki, dying of leukemia.
  • The Last Dance: Nishi is determined to give his wife some last happy moments. To do that, he robs a bank and kills an entire gang of yakuza, before killing his wife and himself rather than be arrested.
  • Literal Ass-Kicking: A yakuza mook tries to collect money from Nishi. Nishi the badass punches the mook in the face, makes the mook wash his car, and kicks him in the butt.
  • Murder-Suicide: Ends with Nishi shooting his wife and himself, rather than submit to arrest.
  • The Quiet One: Nishi hardly ever speaks. He prefers to stare wordlessly and intimidate his interlocutors. And if intimidation doesn't work, that's where violence comes in. The only time he talks, really, is when he's with his wife. (And she doesn't answer, see The Voiceless below).
  • Refuge in Audacity: Asked why he wants to buy police sirens and a taxicab to repaint into a police car, Nishi replies: "I'm going to rob a bank." The salesman laughs it off. And then Nishi robs a bank. In full police uniform. It's so audacious the tellers hand the money over without a fight.
  • Smash Cut: In the opening act. Nishi lighting a cigarette cuts immediately to Horibe getting shot.
  • Too Dumb to Live: A blue-suited man who is in debt to the yakuza boss stands at his desk and insults him, calling him a loan shark, telling him that his interest rates are ridiculous and that he's just going to have to wait for Blue Suit to pay. As Blue Suit stalks off he's followed by one of the yakuza boss's mooks. Blue Suit turns around and arrogantly demands what the mook wants. The mook shoots him in the face.
  • Twitchy Eye: Nishi's outbursts of violence are foreshadowed by his telltale eye twitch.
  • Visual Title Drop: At one point in Nishi and Miyuki's road trip, Nishi fires off some fireworks.
  • The Voiceless: Miyuki, Nishi's wife, doesn't say a word over the whole movie, not until the end when she says "Thank you" and "Sorry".
  • Yakuza: Nishi owes them money. They keep coming to him to get him to pay up, even though each time they do, yakuza end up maimed or dead.

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