After The Storm (12A)

After The Storm (12A)

Directed by Hirokazu Koreeda
Picturehouse, Liverpool
2nd – 8th June 2017

Reviewed by Colin Serjent

The San Francisco Chronicle commented that After The Storm has what the Japanese call ‘Mono No Aware’, which translates as the pathos of things. I totally agree with this view.

It is a compelling and unusual film, despite being low-key, centred on a divorced couple and their son.

Ryota (Hiroshi Abe) is the divorced father whose only claim to fame was in writing a prizewinning novel. But now he is working as a private detective as a means, or so he says, to gain material for his next novel, which, not surprisingly, will have as its main character a private detective.

He is an addicted gambler and has no scruples about trying to find money from any sources in order to pay child support payments never mind the rent. Ryota even rummages through his late father’s belongings at his mother’s apartment, looking for items he could pawn.

Director Hirokazu Koreeda has created a film, which, on the surface, little seems to occur, particularly so in a cinematic sense, but nevertheless your attention never wavers.

The title, After The Storm, is seemingly a metaphor for the tempestuous divide between the former married partners. In actual fact a major storm is due to hit the town where they are based. But as with the human element, you seldom see the actual storm itself when it does strike.

Ryota’s former wife Kyoko (Yoko Maki) is clearly determined to make a new life for herself with another guy, unlike her ex, who seems to constantly reflect on so-called past glories.

As with the movie as a whole there is an enigmatic ending. The storm passes and blue skies re-appear, bringing a sense of optimism, unlike the climatic presence and threat of the storm.

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