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||IMDB Rating: 6.8/10 from 12,125 votes
||Release: 31 May 2000 (Netherlands) /
||Genre: Drama, Mystery, Romance
||Director: Scott Hicks,
||Stars: Akira Takayama, Ako, Anne Suzuki, Arija Bareikis, Celia Weston, Daniel von Bargen, Eric Thal, Ethan Hawke, James Cromwell, James Rebhorn, Max von Sydow, Reeve Carney, Richard Jenkins, Rick Yune, Yûki Kudô
||Synopsis: Carl, a fisherman in the waters off Washington state, has been found dead, drowned in his own nets, but with a serious head wound. Was he murdered? Post-war anti-Japanese sentiments are still running high, and a murder suspect is found in the local Japanese-American community in the form of Kabuo, another fisherman, who had a grudge against Carl's family. Ishmael, the small town's newspaperman, may have the information that would acquit Kabuo, but can he ever put his jilted love for Hatsue (Kazuo's wife) aside? Written by Martin Lewison <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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This is a magnificent adaptation of David Guterson's acclaimed book. Scott
Hicks took on a gargantuan task in attempting to make the book into a film,
not only because it was so powerful and well received, but because it was so
lengthy and daedal. The result, however, was one of the best films I have
seen in quite some time.
There were really three stories intricately interwoven into one. The main
story was the trial of a Japanese American for the murder of a fisherman who
owned the land wrongfully taken from the accused's father. The other two
stories provide insight into critical events affecting the trial. The first
involves the childhood love affair of local newspaperman Ishmael (Ethan
Hawke) and Hatsue (Youki Kudoh), who is now the wife of the accused. He has
uncovered information that can aid the defense, but his resentment for
having been jilted by Hatsue stands in the way of his bringing it
The second ancillary story is the persecution of Japanese Americans and
Japanese immigrants during World War II. We see depictions of hatred and
bigotry, as law abiding Japanese citizens are shamelessly herded into
internment camps. This seething animus serves as the psychological backdrop
for the trial, which occurs in the early 1950's when the memories of the war
and lost loved ones is still fresh.
From a directorial and cinematography perspective, this film was nothing
short of a masterpiece. It is a cinematic work of art. Between Hicks'
brilliant camera perspectives and Robert Richardson's beautiful lighting and
earth tone coloring, the film was resplendent in powerful and stirring
images. Many were so artistically done that if made into snapshots they
could easily hang in any art gallery. Each shot was meticulously thought
out. Many involved complex shots through windows, silhouette backlighting,
elaborate blocking, and scenes where actors, props and camera were all
moving in different directions to create fabulously fluid perspective shots
that slowly unfolded to revealed the scene's full content.
The editing was also fantastic. I have seen comparison's between this
editing and The Limey'. While there is some similarity in technique, this
was far more elegant and flowing, whereas `The Limey' was jumpy and
disconnected. This style of editing was absolutely necessary to adhere to
the book's non linear format. Hicks needed to insert scenes that explained
the feelings and motivations of the characters, and the only way to do this
was with flashbacks and jump cuts. Despite the fact that such editing is
disconcerting to a large majority of viewers, it was an artistic decision
that was exactly right for the story, and seamlessly done. The same is true
of the audio overlays with monologues of characters superimposed on one
another, giving great power and emphasis to certain of the characters'
The story itself, with all of its components, was engaging and well crafted.
Unfortunately, there was not enough time to develop more of the characters.
The scenes depicting the herding of the Japanese out of their homes for
relocation were chilling. The courtroom scenes were realistic, not
forsaking court procedure for dramatic effect, as is so common nowadays.
The love scenes were sensitive, romantic and passionate without the need for
From an acting perspective, this was more of an ensemble production. All
the actors gave wonderful performances, especially Youki Kudoh, who was torn
between her love for Ishmael and her loyalty to her family and traditions.
Kudoh was so emotionally involved with the part that she actually began
crying during the featurette when recalling one of the scenes. Screen
legend Max von Sydow was also fantastic as the aging defense attorney
fighting and pleading for justice amidst the racial hatred.
This is a beautifully crafted film with a compelling story. It is a
filmmaking 10/10. It has unfortunately not found a wide audience since its
strongest elements are not areas of mass appeal. For the refined viewer who
can appreciate filmmaking as an art, and enjoy an intriguing but deliberate
story with exquisitely woven subtleties, this film is a delight. For those
who prefer Hollywood's movie success formula of fast paced linear stories
with lots of violence, profanity, clever one liners and raunchy sex, this
film will bore them to death.
Tags for Snow Falling on Cedars Full Movie
, Anne Suzuki
, Arija Bareikis
, Celia Weston
, Daniel von Bargen
, Eric Thal
, Ethan Hawke
, James Cromwell
, James Rebhorn
, Max von Sydow
, Reeve Carney
, Richard Jenkins
, Rick Yune
, Yûki Kudô
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