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
It's "Stand By Me" and "To Kill A Mockingbird" blended into one.
A tightly wound and dynamic thriller that centers around a local news reporter (Ethan Hawke) who runs into an old childhood flame part friend (Youri Kudoh) during a murder trial in a small Washington town during the early 1950s. Director Scott Hicks, who made a name for himself and actor Geoffrey Rush in "Shine", takes an interesting approach in putting plenty of flashbacks that go back to the late 1930s and it works wonderfully. The film's best (and the saddest) flashback scene is witnessing every Japanese person being hauled off in (trucks or trains) to special camps. The courtroom scenes are excellent and watching the devoted prosecutor (James Rebhorn) and an aging, but determined defense attorney (Max von Sydow, who should have snatched a nod for Best Supporting Actor) make their cases is almost perfect. The film is backed by Robert Richardson's terrific cinematography and composer James Newton Howard's gentle and moving score. It's "Stand By Me" meets "To Kill A Mockingbird".
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