Wednesday, 11 August 2010


(Koji Wakamatsu; Japan; 2010)

This film is very blunt. It is quite clear that Wakamatsu wants us to simply consider that war is bad, and no-one remains unaffected. He spells this out through his presentation of statistics about the loss of lives in World War 2 at the end of the film, which feels a little too preachy and tacked-on. But, if you ignore the proselytising tone, then the film has depth and complexity, and presents a truly horrific tale of war through the lens of a domestic setting. A wife has to tend to her husband, returned to her after losing all four limbs and the ability to speak while fighting in the Japanese army. He is considered to be a war-God, but this seems to be by sheer dint of having survived with horrific injuries. The film is interesting when elaborating upon the grey zones of the relations between husband and wife – she hates him, yet at times tenderly nurtures him and feeds him like a baby, he is supposed to be a hero, but the flashbacks reveal he is much less than that. Often, the anger, the agony, the screaming, the crying, all gets a bit too much. Shinobu Teriyama's performance as the wife, however, is extremely strong, and the scene where she first runs away at the sight of her deformed husband is electrifying and terrifying.

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