Posted by martinteller on January 1, 2012
Interesting look at the relationship between work and family in Japanese culture, and the various deceptions done for the sake of keeping up appearances, and the strains on our lives placed by society and ourselves. The situation in the Sasaki household escalates to the breaking point, and finds a new start at the end. For most of the film I was enjoying watching events unfold but didn’t feel like it hung together very well. Then came the absolutely glorious finale, a deeply affecting scene that really brought everything home for me and transformed it from something good to something special. The performances are all very good, the cinematography effective without too much flash, and the script is dotted with welcome moments of humor.
The plot thread concerning the older son leaves me a bit perplexed. It’s hard to see this as anything other than a political statement (the US war in the Middle East being another deception which has to be shattered before a fresh start can begin) but if so, it feels out of place. I don’t know if Kurosawa intended to make this kind of statement, but the situation is so specific that it must have some significance. At any rate, I’m curious to see what he does next, I like this direction. Rating: Very Good