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Set in the Japan Alps, with very impressive scenery, this tells the story of three skiers at the Monoyama Ski Resort. The three skiers wreak havoc all over town, with their death defying ski antics and just being generally annoying. Into their lives, but especially Gin Shiroyama who is played by Eita, comes Nanami, played by the pretty Rena Tanaka. She is here to get married in a few days and wants to learn to ski before that, so she comes alone. Gin, who used to be a champion skier before a bad accident at one competition, agrees to help, ostensibly since he is doing little else. You sense something is amiss with this wedding and there is, when Nanami's future husband, as well as the wedding guests, are not coming (you'll have to see the film to understand why, that is too much of a plot spoiler). As a matter of fact, there are a few unusual twists in this story, which makes it not another brainless movie about skiing. The two leads are okay together, not quite jelling in a significant way, but that's okay. I watched it on a plane bound for Tokyo, so I didn't get the theater effect. Still, I liked it and, although at times its frustratingly juvenile, I think you'll like it also.
Since I love skiing and I love romantic comedy movies, this movie hit all the right buttons for me. (I also loved Wimbledon(2004 for similar reasons). And come to think of it, maybe that is the best way to describe 銀色のシーズン. This is part of the latest string of Japanese "hollywood blockbuster-like" movies; mostly the work of this director- Eiichiro Hasumi (Limit of love-Umizaru, Umizaru) but also Takashi Yamazaki(Always San Chome no yuhi, Returner). This movie is a wonderful mix of Hollywood "blockbuster" elements, elements of the British Romantic Comedy genre, but also adding lots of uniquely Japanese twists too. The basic story is well setup, the camera work is brilliant, the Japanese alps are beautifully captured along with actors, and all the actors do a very good job(given the genre). And the "snow chapel" idea is brilliant and just so romantic. This really is a sweet film with some very lovable characters and beautiful shots. This really is a well done romantic comedy and ski movie and one of my favourites now.
I've seen some underrated films on IMDb, but this one takes the cake. A
5.1, for this!? You people have simply and solely based your ratings on
the commonality and familiarity of its story lines while completely
ignoring its execution, which is fantastic. This film has a heart, and
how many times can you say that nowadays?
The plot line mostly concerns two people: a world renowned skier who retired at a young age after breaking his leg while in competition; and a woman who is preparing for her wedding in an ice chapel. Sounds like your typical American comeback sports story mixed with your typical Japanese romance, right? Well, the execution is anything but typical. Seriously, the only way you're not going to like this film is if you have a stark predisposition against the plot lines described above, because the sports theme of this film is executed about as well as it can possibly be executed. This could have just overtaken "Lump of Sugar" (2006) as my favorite sports themed Asian movie of all time.
CAMERA-WORK and DIRECTION: First of all, the entire film takes place in the snowy mountains, which are captured beautifully. Secondly, the direction is top notch during the ski sequences, which use angles that accentuate the speed and excitement of the sport. Overall, the camera-work and direction is so impressive that it lifts the predictable finale to a whole other level of excitement. I ended up watching it and rewatching that sequence over 10 consecutive times. Outstanding stuff. Here's a clip of the first few minutes of the movie as an example of what to expect: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G26Z6GE-aRw.
CHARACTERS: Every one of the characters is likable, and the two leads are developed enough so that the viewer cares about their well-being. The script takes time to establish the culture of the small resort town and how the relationship between it and the skier has deteriorated after his retirement. The filmmakers explore this scenario thoroughly and it provides great buildup and anticipation for the finale. The internal struggles of the wife-to-be are also juxtaposed with the skier to provided added motivation for his success.
ACTING: It's all about the chemistry between the actors. Eita and Rena Tanaka have this chemistry, as does Eita and the two actors who play the other mischievous skiers. A number of supporting stars also provide their own highlight moments (e.g., Eriko Sato in that hilarious snowy brawl, etc.).
SCORING: Superb! It's a bit repetitive but the main theme is really great stuff. A sample of it is included in the link referenced above.
SURPRISES: All of this talk about predictability and commonality will probably lead one to believe that this is entirely by-the-book. Not so. There's one scene involving an "avalanche maker" that was very surprising. Also, you can predict the ending but you still have no idea whether or not the characters will succeed in their goals. Remember, this is an Asian movie, which means that the conventional "sports movie happy ending" is rare.
Let's put it this way. If someone were given the assignment to create the best "drama romance comedy sports comeback hybrid" in existence, they've passed with flying colors. It's quite simply the perfect film of its kind.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The Silver Season is a Japanese sports romantic comedy.It stars Eita
and Rena Tanaka together with Tetsuji Tamayama,Munetaka Aoki,Eriko
Sato, Tetta Sugimoto and Jun Kunimura.The movie is shot during winter
and it presents the sport of skiing as well as a romance between two
people who are trying to find new objectives for living life.It was
written by Bando Kenji and directed by Eiichiro Hasumi.
The Silver Season present three slacker extreme skiers in Gin, Yuji and Juro.They live life at top speed on the snow white peaks of Hakuba. Other than skiing and more skiing, the three "Alpine Handymen" run odds jobs, ruffle feathers, and make reckless fun, Â often all at the same time. Gin lands himself a ski instructor gig when city girl Nanami shows up at the Dogwood Ski Lodge to prepare for her lavish ice chapel wedding. A crash course is in order since her groom-to-be is an expert skier, and she can't even take the bunny hill without, well, crashing. Impatient speed freak Gin and perennially clumsy Nanami couldn't be more different at first gander, but they're both struggling to let go of the past, looking for answers that can only be found on two skis.
The Silver Season has all the elements of a typical romantic comedy like the two leads being at odds with one another and definitely find themselves two completely different people but later on find something in common.Although this is found in many movies similar to its genre,it presents it in a touching and heartwarming manner.What makes it great is the fact that it makes it very subtle just like the development of the romance between them that it never felt contrived nor the viewer felt manipulated.Also,Eita and Tenaka makes it work for the Nth time like that it is something refreshing and very original that they do make it work in this movie.Credit that to their brilliant performances and great chemistry together.Aside from that,the visuals of winter and the ski stunts as well as the musical score makes it worth watching. Definitely,the movie is has great story with an unlikely combination of ski and romance.
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