Saturday, April 22, 2017

[Review] After the Storm

If you're familiar with the work of director Hirokazu Koreeda, you know that his filmography consists of quiet familial dramas like Our Little Sister and Like Father, Like Son (to name a couple). His latest, After the Storm, unsurprisingly, is in the very same realm.

Ryota (Hiroshe Abe) is stuck in a rut. Once a successful award-winning author, his career is now dwindling, he has a gambling problem, and he's further alienated himself from his ex-wife (Yoki Maki), his son (Taiyo Yoshizawa) and his elderly mother (Kirin Kiki, who delivers one of the film's best lines: "New friends at my age just means more funerals"). The story essentially swirls around Ryota's attempts to become a bigger part of his son's life and rediscover his own self-worth.

This is a very breezy and relaxed film. You can literally hear the birds chirping. Its narrative - more of a character study, steeped in symbolism of plants blooming and caterpillar-to-butterfly metamorphosis, mirroring the arcs and transformations of the people here. One scene sees Ryota chasing after lottery tickets in the wind, as if he's chasing lost dreams. It is a slow-moving duration, though. A couple of times I found myself drifting in and out of my own daydreams.

Still, with some patience, After the Storm is a rewarding experience, thanks to the subtle yet rich details, the wise dialogue, Abe's stellar central performance, and the heartfelt moments of bonding.

( 7.5/10 )

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