Monday, April 03, 2006

Nobody Knows (2005)

I'll have to file this one alongside Eureka in the Immense-Somber-Drama-That-Failed-to-Move-Me folder. It's not really the length that's the problem, it's the tone. Hirokazu Kore-eda adopts a stately, measured tone (the kind of tone you apparently have to adopt in Japan these days if you aren't making a film with a whole bunch of sex & gore) that certainly makes the film feel like life unfolding in front of your eyes, but this choice of tone also flattens the potential for emotional weight. As the story creeps towards its conclusion, it becomes clear that nothing is going to change and these kids are going to remain unflappable in the face of increasingly grim circumstances. Good for them, I guess, but the all-encompassing placidity nearly destroys this. Fortunately, it is beautifully made, and it has a hell of a performance from Yuya Yagira as the eldest child, who is forced to reach maturity much quicker than he should. It's a good film, all the better for avoiding the cheap-n-easy deus ex momina; I just wish it wasn't so wearying.

Grade: B-


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