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||IMDB Rating: 6.6/10 from votes
||Release: 20 October 2012 (Japan) /
||Genre: Drama, Sci-Fi
||Director: Shion Sono,
||Stars: Akira Hamada, Denden, Hajime Inoue, Hikari Kajiwara, Hiroshi Honjomaru, Isao Natsuyagi, Jun Murakami, Keisuke Horibe, Kenzô Kawarasaki, Megumi Kagurazaka, Mitsuru Fukikoshi, Motoki Fukami, Naoko Ohtani, Yûsuke Iseya, Yutaka Shimizu
||Synopsis: An earth-quake causes a nuclear crisis in a fictive Japanese prefecture. In wake of the disaster, the members of the Ono family who reside just outside the border of the mandatory evacuation zone face uncertainty. Written by James-Masaki
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After a string of excellent movies (showcasing an awesome, almost
frightening consistency of quality) - e.g. Suicide Club, Noriko's
Dinner Table, Love Exposure, Guilty of Romance - Shion Sono provides
his most mature film to date with "The Land of Hope".
This is a movie about roots, growing up, self-discovery, death, life
and the possibilities of learning more about yourself through hardship.
This is a movie about commitment - in love as well as in life - and how
to make good things happen in a bad world. This is a good movie about
bad things happening to good and bad people alike.
To get the bad out of the way, the old tropes that Sion uses in every
one his films are still there: drama veering on melodrama (but never
actually taking the plunge), classical and romantic music played to
death to evoke emotions, long scenes that are sure to test the
But even there, even when I thought the director had failed - in the
placing of a long-winded scene or the evocation of an easy emotion -
the dramatic pay-off ALWAYS justifies everything that has come before.
The film provides, indeed, one of the most emotionally draining,
spiritually breathtaking third acts that I have ever seen in a film.
The most astounding parts of this film are, in no particular order: 1)
the stellar acting, especially by the old couple who form the heart of
the film, 2) the scenery of real-life Fukushima set in the fictive town
of Nagashima, 3) the beautiful cinematography, editing and
post-production, 4) the interplay of "official reality" (dreamlike
illusion) vs. what is actually happening on ground level, 5) the
post-apocalyptic, slightly surreal suspense, almost like a horror film,
of the ever-present nuclear danger, 6) the psychological and
sociological meltdown resulting from a nuclear meltdown, 7) the complex
web of characters and life stories woven in the fabric of the film.
Overall, there is little to hold me back from heartily recommending
this film to serious movie-lovers everywhere.
Over-effusive praise is self-defeating, because it can throw people
off. It's not a perfect film. There is still something in the Japanese
style of movie making that allows for meandering shots at times. There
are still ways of refining the craft forward; I have high hopes Shion
Sono's best film is still ahead of him.
But honestly, there is not much else to criticize. All I can say is
that this movie demanded everything, and gave back everything, in the
course of its perfectly timed journey and the well-planned catharsis.
People in the West should take note of his name, for his work
transcends cultural barriers. He has the power to blow floodgates of
emotion wide open. Sono has, indeed, after a series of great films,
proved himself to be one of the most interesting and powerful directors
living the world today. And here, perhaps, on the mellow suffering of
his countrymen, he has crafted the crown jewel of his career.
Tags for The Land of Hope Full Movie
, Hajime Inoue
, Hikari Kajiwara
, Hiroshi Honjomaru
, Isao Natsuyagi
, Jun Murakami
, Keisuke Horibe
, Kenzô Kawarasaki
, Megumi Kagurazaka
, Mitsuru Fukikoshi
, Motoki Fukami
, Naoko Ohtani
, Yûsuke Iseya
, Yutaka Shimizu
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