The titular 'Broken Drum' of this movie is the father, who is both a successful businessman and tyrannical head of the family which is the subject of this film.
Consisting of Father, Mother, several children in various stages of adolescence and adulthood, and a housekeeper, the family are a happy and colourful group people, each with their own dreams and aspirations, from Shakespeare actress to scientist. These dreams are ultimately quashed by the iron will and stubbornness of their father, who rules over the family the same way he does his ailing construction company, with a raised fist and singular vision for the future.
I found it very easy to relate to all the characters in the movie, the eldest son who has ambition to start his own business but cannot find the courage to confront his father, the mother who has suffered for decades as both wife and homemaker, and even the father, the 'broken drum', who has become the harsh tyrant that he is only because of the strength of will and determination required to be a success in the harsh economical and environmental climates of Northern Japan.
Overall the film was very enjoyable and leads to a satisfying conclusion. Good acting and direction make it pleasant to watch, and also interesting from a cultural point of view as we see the early stages of post war, westernised Japan through the tale of one family.
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