Against The Hype

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Review: Departures

March 29, 2009 By: Colin Low Category: Capsuled Thoughts

Still: Departures (2008)

For such a glorious time, Departures succeeds in being, at turns, a screwball comedy about a cellist thrust into the embalming business after his orchestra goes bust (Masahiro Motoki, who plies his movie with a hilarious physicality), and a faux-documentary about the intricacies, nobilities and pathos of the embalming ceremony and its bereaved spectators—that it lets us down whenever the more obvious narrative or “artistic” cues rear their head, as when various characters seem primed to have their opinions changed about the respectability of our hero’s profession, when the movie throws in random shots of him plying his cello atop the rolling hills, or when a few elderly characters seem just a little too important for their own good…

Departures | 2008 | Japan | Director: Yôjirô Takita| Screenplay: Kundo Koyama| Cast: Masahiro Motoki, Tsutomu Yamazaki, Ryoko Hirosue, Kazuko Yoshiyuki, Kimiko Yo, Takashi Sasano


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