Director: Takeshi Kitano
Alternating between humour and irony, Takeshi Kitano's hard edged look at disaffected youth follows the life of two high school failures, Shinji and Masaru, and their fate in the unyielding system that is modern Japanese society. Shinji progresses from school bully to a member of the lower levels of the Yakuza, while Masaru drifts, almost by accident, into boxing. Other school mates are also trying to realise their dreams - two attempt a life in stand-up comedy, while another pair try a career as salesmen before descending into the grind of cab driving.
But it is to Shinji and Masaru that the narrative keeps returning as both struggle to prevail, having slowly realised the difference between teenage expectations and the reality of the adult world. Numerous peripheral, though fully rounded, characters appear along the way and there is a touching romantic subplot, but despite the humour and eccentric detours, Kitano's depiction of the hopelessness and lack of choice facing Japanese youth is powerfully conveyed right up to the bittersweet final sequences.