7.7/10
947
9 user 14 critic

Boy (1969)

Shônen (original title)
A young boy reluctantly aids his swindling father in a threatening scam.

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(screenplay)
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3 wins. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview:
Fumio Watanabe ...
Takeo Omura
Akiko Koyama ...
Takeko Taniguchi
Tetsuo Abe ...
Toshio Omura
Tsuyoshi Kinoshita ...
Peewee
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Storyline

Unmarried couple Takeo Omura and Takeko Kaniguchi travel across Japan with their two sons, the eldest, Toshio, who is biologically his but not hers. They are con artists, whose scam is for her to jump alongside moving vehicles feigning being hit and injured, while he, playing the outraged husband, negotiates with the worried driver for an unofficial cash settlement in return for not calling the police reporting the motorist's "guilt". She often does sustain minor injuries from the ruse. She believes that they will continue doing this work until they have enough money to settle down in one place, where he will get a legitimate job. However, he wants to continue the scam indefinitely as he, a veteran, claims that injuries he sustained during the war would prevent him from obtaining that legitimate work. When Toshio reaches age ten in 1966, they enlist him in the con, he now playing the accident victim, with Takeko now playing the concerned mother role. They even manufacture real bruises... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

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Details

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Release Date:

9 April 1970 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Boy  »

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Technical Specs

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Color:

(tinted)| (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Goofs

While the boy is wandering through a village it is night time, at the ocean inlet it's dawn, but the following scenes are at night time again. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Amusing, Sad, Horrifying
22 January 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This movie dramatizes the real-life adventures of a roving family of con artists who faked traffic accidents to extort money from unwitting victims all over Japan. It offers a tension-filled psychological study of depraved, sociopathic parents exploiting each other and their 10-year-old son for easy money. The acting is remarkably good, particularly on the part of the boy who takes up the family trade with a mixture of gusto and reluctance.

The cinematography is wonderful -- many shots are taken at a distance from the subjects, often through half-open doors, semi-closed blinds and other obstructions. The camera work reinforces the message, subliminally, that these are dangerous people living on the margins of society, and it is best to watch their antics at a safe distance. The film editing is excellent, particularly in the scenes where traffic mishaps are being plotted and executed by the family.

My only quibble is that the film does at times have a mannered, contrived quality. For example, it abruptly switches from color to black and white and back again to color. At times, as when the black and white footage is quite overexposed, the effect is constructive and adds to the strained atmosphere; at other times, though, you feel a little whipsawed to little purpose.

This film is as worthwhile as it is off the beaten track. Anyone with an interest in Japanese cinema or aberrant families would do well to see it.


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