Against the background of an Australian desert, Sandy, a geologist, and Hiromitsu, a Japanese businessman, play out a story of human inconsequence in the face of the blistering universe. ... See full summary »
1973 Sydney: An Australian gangster sees booming business, due to U.S. soldiers being in town for relaxing between their tours to the Vietnam war, attracts the attention of first the Chicago mafia, and then their East Coast competitors.
One of three cars carrying lady bowls players is overdue. Unsure about which car, who the occupants might have been, or what might have happened to them, the locals embark on a chaotic ... See full summary »
For forty years Lilian Singer has been locked up in a 'loony bin' by her father. Her release is eventually secured by her eccentric Aunt Kitty and her brother, John. Lilian starts to carve ... See full summary »
Muriel finds life in Porpoise Spit, Australia dull and spends her days alone in her room listening to Abba music and dreaming of her wedding day. Slight problem, Muriel has never had a date... See full summary »
Brett Sprague is a violent and psychopathic man, who is released on parole after serving a sentence for assault. As he returns to his family house and we watch him and his brothers, Stevie ... See full summary »
The Hotel Splendide is on a remote and cold island, accessible only by a once-a-month ferry. It's a dark and dreary spa created by the late Dame Blanche, whose grown children now run the ... See full summary »
Australian Diana Spencer wins a competition in a women's magazine, and as a prize gets a trip for two to London, where she wants to meet her idol and namesake, Princess Diana. She goes ... See full summary »
Against the background of an Australian desert, Sandy, a geologist, and Hiromitsu, a Japanese businessman, play out a story of human inconsequence in the face of the blistering universe. The end of the journey leaves no one capable of going back to where they started from. Written by
The best thing about `Japanese Story,' an Australian film directed by Sue Brooks and set almost entirely in the Outback, is its unpredictability. Just as you begin to think that the story, written by Alison Tilson, is headed in one particular direction, it does an amazing about-face and leads us down an entirely different, utterly unexpected narrative path.
The movie starts off as a fairly standard romantic comedy, involving two strangers who don't like each other very much yet who are forced to spend an inordinate amount of time together. Sandy is a geologist whose company, against her will and better judgment, has asked her to escort an important Japanese businessman through the wilds of the Australian desert on a sightseeing tour. The film even begins to seem a bit like a landlocked `Swept Away' for awhile, as these two headstrong people he a Japanese traditionalist with male chauvinistic tendencies and she a no-nonsense, freethinking, independent woman (but both filled with doubts and insecurities beneath the surface) find themselves stranded in a hostile and remote environment, fighting for survival. But then the first of the film's numerous plot reversals kicks in and we find ourselves in an entirely different situation altogether.
I certainly don't want to spoil anyone's experience of this film by revealing just what those plot twists are, so I will merely state that the film, in the second half, becomes a fairly profound meditation on the precarious nature of life and the almost lightning-paced speed with which tragedy can intervene to bring our worlds crashing down around us. Toni Collette is heartbreaking as the feisty yet warmhearted Sandy and Gotaro Tsunashima is both tender and stoic as the man from an exotic culture with whom she eventually falls in love.
That, of course, is the predictable part. But if you think you know where this story is going, you will be pleasantly surprised at how wrong you will be.
31 of 37 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?