Takemura has no friends and no family. He's a student but he doesn't have any particular ambitions. In other words, he isn't going anywhere fast. Were all this not enough, the sorry sad ... See full summary »
12-year-old Koichi, who has been separated from his brother Ryunosuke due to his parents' divorce, begins to believe that the new bullet train service will create a miracle when the first trains pass each other at top speed.
The generation gap is difficult enough to bridge on its own-add a father's service in Vietnam and the gap gets even wider. Following three veterans and their grown children back to the land... See full summary »
I saw this film about 6 or 7 years ago or so, and just revisited it recently. It's as superb now as it was then. Some films don't tend to age well over time, but this is really the epitome of a timeless uncomplicated film that can last forever.
The plot revolves around 6 young strangers gathered together to work a sugar cane harvest over the course of a month or so to make some extra money. It's sort of like a working vacation as well, as they get to spend their time at an island getaway that's the polar opposite of the normal hustle and bustle of their regular lives. The work they have to do is grueling and back breaking however, and most all of the workers are ill prepared for the task at hand but, they soon get down to it though, and, this movie is off and running.
That's about all there is to the story the rest of the movie is about getting to know the 6 workers, their foreman, and the sweet granny and grandpa who own the land that needs to be farmed. This is a VERY simple and slowly paced film that is basically nothing more than a subtle character study and bonding experience, with some self discovery between the characters thrown in for good measure As boring as that might seem, this movie is often engrossing, frequently mesmerizing, and oddly soothing.
One of the best things about this film is simply what it is not: there are no giant plot twists, no heroes, no villains, no hidden agendas, and, little to no nonsense. There's some plot points implemented throughout that are designed to further flesh out and test each of the main characters involved it's obvious that all of the main characters have their own reasons for being there, and many have their own past life issues they are trying to overcome (some heavier than others), but, not so much more so than most any group of real life people you just randomly gathered off the street.
As a side note; I typically don't like to make mention of filmmaking specifics in my reviews much beyond acting, story/plot, and whether I liked the movie or not. But, I would be remiss to not mention the cinematography in this particular film it is superb; the island shots are stunning and gorgeous, and, the sugar crop field is often hypnotic to just stare at as it waves in the wind, and evolves over time while the workers relentlessly whittle it down.
The film is a shade just over 2 hours long, but it certainly doesn't feel like it. It breezes right along, and just grows on you in a way that is really hard to describe. It also becomes a strangely emotional viewing experience as the ending draws closer and closer. In the end, I really wanted to see the workers accomplish their goal, but, I also wished they could keep on harvesting this sugar crop indefinitely.
I liken this movie to spending an enjoyable evening (in reality) with good friends who are soon moving far away Sometimes, you wish an evening with your friends would last just a little bit longer, and, sometimes you wish a sugar cane field was just a little bit bigger. This film might not be for everyone, and it's likely not suitable for the adrenaline/action/ADHD crowd. But, I found it to be somewhat fascinating and thoroughly likable, and, I was a little bit sad when it all had to inevitably end And that is the highest compliment I can give to any film.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, and totally worth watching if you're willing to give it a chance ...9 out of 10 stars.
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