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The Wind Rises

Posted by martinteller on January 31, 2015

Miyazaki’s final film (allegedly… I’m holding out hope that he’ll come out of retirement for one last go) is his least fanciful as director.  While his previous work is (arguably) family entertainment with appeal for both young and old, it’s hard to imagine a child who would be terribly interested in a fictionalized biopic about an aeronautics engineer.  I don’t point this out as either a negative or a positive, just an unusual shift in style.  Miyazaki still uses animation to fanciful ends, however… the intertwining of reality and dream is done with striking grace, and would probably be much clunkier in live action.

Jiro’s passion for aviation (a passion Miyazaki has clearly demonstrated in prior films, most notably Porco Rosso) is admirable and compelling, but to be honest I was far more interested in his relationship with the ailing Naoko.  Romance has not figured too prominently in Miyazaki’s other movies, but here he handles it with beautiful simplicity and depth.  I was touched by the tenderness evoked by the small gestures and I felt their connection was genuine… despite the fact that, like much of the film, she is an invention.  True or not, it is a poignant romance.  I feel a little bit squicky about how the film celebrates someone who designed instruments of death, but there is a reasonable amount of remorseful distancing between the thrill of invention and the unfortunate consequences.  Besides, is it all that different from The Dam Busters?  Should I feel more indignant about this because the protagonist worked on behalf of the other side? Rating: Very Good (85)


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