It's 1950 on San Pedro Island in the American Pacific Northwest. Commercial fisher Carl Heine Jr.'s dead body is pulled out of the water in a fishing net by his crew, he who died of head trauma. Kazuo Miyamoto is charged with his murder. Carl and Kazuo were once friends, had known each other since childhood, but WWII has placed a strain on any sort of relationship between the ethic Japanese and Caucasian populations of the area, the Japanese population which was and is still substantial on the island. Carl had motive regarding a land dispute between the two families, land which Carl's mother eventually sold from under the Miyamotos and which Carl had just repurchased. Evidence also points to Kazuo being on the water with Carl probably sometime during his last voyage, evidence which Kazuo knew would put him in a bad light, adding on top of being Japanese, and thus decided not to disclose to the investigating sheriff at the time he was questioned. Kazuo and his wife Hatsue's fear come ... Written by
As the referees say on pro football TV games, "On further review......" That's the way I thought after my second viewing of this movie.
GOOD NEWS - On the first look, I was totally blown away and dazzled at the fabulous cinematography. Man, this is one of the prettiest movies I've ever seen.....and that's important for my entertainment. Scene after scene looks like some picture postcard. I also enjoyed the two lawyers in this film, played by James Rebhorn and Max VonSydow. Sometimes those two were riveting to watch.
BAD NEWS - Most of the story was anything but riveting, way too slow and with way too much time used on flashbacks. This story could have been told in a much more presentable way which could have kept the audience's attention. It's also a little too politically-correct. We were beaten over the head with the prejudice against Japanese. Everyone here, except the Liberal newspaper editor and his son, is portrayed as extremely bigoted.
Overall, a spectacular visual film - one of the best ever - but a story that takes interminably long to tell.....too long.
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