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Carl, a fisherman in the waters off Washington state, has been found dead, drowned in his own nets, but with a serious head wound. Was he murdered? Post-war anti-Japanese sentiments are still running high, and a murder suspect is found in the local Japanese-American community in the form of Kabuo, another fisherman, who had a grudge against Carl's family. Ishmael, the small town's newspaperman, may have the information that would acquit Kabuo, but can he ever put his jilted love for Hatsue (Kazuo's wife) aside? Written by
Martin Lewison <email@example.com>
***SPOILERS*** Beautifully photographer period piece, 1941-1950, about a pre-Pearl Harbor forbidden love affair between a young all-Amerian boy Ishmeal Chambers , Ethen Hawke,and Japanese-American girl Hatsue Imanda, Youki Kudoh. The love affair became an obsession with Ishmeal after Hatsue, with the urging of her Japanese parents, left him for another man Japanese-American and WWII war hero Kazom Yamoto, Rick Yune.
It's now ten years later and Kazom is on trial for the murder of local Washington State fisherman Carl Heine, Eric Thal. Carls family had been involved in a bitter dispute over some land that was taken from Kazoms wife's, Hatsue, family during their interment in a US concentration camp during WWII.
Ishmeal now a reporter for his late fathers Arthur Chambers, Sam Shepard, town newspaper "The Island Review" is covering the Kazom Yamoto murder trial and the emotions that it bring out; Kazom having married his child-hood sweetheart Hatsue, are interfering with his objectivity in reporting the trial.
Defended by local defense attorney Nels Gudmundsson, Max Von Sydon, who has his hands full in trying to keep out the fact that Kazom, who's a highly decorated WWII veteran, being Japanese is somehow through guilt-by-ancestry responsible for the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor by the then Japan Tojo government. This line of questioning by the state attorney Alvin Hooks, James Rebhorn, brings the worst out of what the trial of Kazom Yamoto shouldn't be about. Since it has nothing to do with the death, or murder, of Carl Heine but everything to do with the treatment of the Japanese-Americans living on the west coast by the US government during WWII.
Ishmael who was brought up in a very liberal household with his father almost losing his newspaper, due to falling sales, by sticking out his neck after Pearl Harbor in defending the Japanese-Americans in town.In his editorializing against the US government policy of putting them in internment camps and taking away their properties. Now he's doing just the opposite of what his late father did by letting his emotions, in Ishmeal's resentment of Kazom for taking Hatsue away from him, override his sound judgment in that the evidence against Kozom isn't air tight. Ishmeal is also very bitter toward Japanese-Americans Kazom and Hatsue in that he lost his left arm in, what looked like the November 1943 battle of Tarawa,the Pacific fighting as a US Marine against the Imperial Japanese Army.
Eerie drama that grips you like a blistering North Pacific snowstorm and hold your interests for over two hours until the final verdict comes in not just on the fate of Kazom Yamoto but the heart and soul of Ishmeal Chambers. Who's has been greatly hurt by Hatsue rejecting him and then staggeringly traumatized over the trial and the real and dark, reasons behind it. That Ishmeal at first, because of his past and sad experiences with Hatsue blindly and conveniently overlooked.
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