Sunday, February 15, 2015

Nature Will Take Its Course

Still the Water (2014) - Kawase
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Death and love dominate Still the Water, Kawase's tropical island set coming-of-age story. There's a lot to like- for instance, two leads are incredibly attractive. You can really take your eyes off of Jun Yoshinaga's dark, flawless face. The setting is gorgeous. Add stunning underwater sequences. I'm sold. Yoshinaga plays Kyoko, a High Schooler who's in love with a Tokyo transplant, sullen Kaito (Nijiro Murakami). Her shaman mom is dying of some illness and she has to grapple with the concept of death. Kaito is a deeply scarred by his parents splitting up and can't understand his mom's lascivious nature. He resists Kyoko's advances.

Unfortunately Kawase paints Still the Water with such broad strokes that it isn't quite affecting as it should. Yes adult life is complicated and death comes to everyone. Yes the nature will take its course whether you like it or not and old tradition will continue long after you are gone, and so on. But the long arduous sequences aren't going to make the point more poignant. The film should've been 30 minutes shorter.

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