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
Of the film, to production designer Jeannine Oppewall, "it shows the arbitrary and capricious nature of life - its randomness - something very difficult for us humans to accept. We all too often resort to a court of law because we need someone to blame." See more »
A Coast Guard form, reporting weather and shipping messages, in the lighthouse scene lists the Coast Guard as part of the Department of Transportation, which was created in 1960. The Coast Guard was under the Department of the Treasury until 1967. See more »
It takes a rare thing, a turning point, to free oneself from any obsession. Be it prejudice or hate, or, even love.
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Jan Rubes and Sheila Moore are on the credits despite their scenes being deleted. See more »
A murder-mystery / love story set against the backdrop of a small island community in post-WWII north western United States.
This movie is based on the book of the same name by author David Guterson. It is *highly* recommended to read the book before watching this movie as, in the opinion of this reviewer, the movie is an unintelligible mess that leaves out vitally important material to the understanding of the plot.
While it is not always possible to retain the feeling and spirit of a work of fiction through the screenplay writing process, I believe that this is one case in which the screen writers failed to capture the essence of the characters and what the author was trying to impart, despite the fact that Mr. Guterson was involved in the process.
Even though the movie departs from book in several vital area's that drastically change the symbology and moral of the story, the cinematography in this movie is splendid; it captures a feeling of 1950's Americana in very convincing fashion and by itself, this imagery brings much of the feeling of time home to the viewer in a real and emotionally dramatic sense.
It is really too bad that more was not done to preserve the beautiful symbology of the book and, though it must be a difficult task, that the essence of the characters was not more carefully interpretted in a true-to-the-book fashion. The director comments that he was not attempting a very literal translation, and in this I think he makes a rather grave mistake and ends up doing both the movie and the story a disservice.
Again, I highly recommend reading the book before watching this movie, even though it might take away from your appreciation of the cinematography as you struggle to reconcile the directors choices with the authors obvious intended meaning.
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