Tokyo Sonata | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Wednesday, May 22nd, 2024  

Tokyo Sonata

Studio: Regent Releasing

Feb 01, 2009 Winter 2009 - Anticipated Albums of 2009 Bookmark and Share

The 2008 Jury Prize winner in the Cannes Film Festival’s Un Certain Regard section, Tokyo Sonata is a departure for Japanese director Kiyoshi Kurosawa, who is perhaps best known in the States for his creepy horror films Cure and Pulse. A contemporary domestic drama that portrays a family unraveling through lies, Tokyo Sonata’s topics of concern should resonate with U.S. viewers.

Ryuhei Sasaki (Teruyuki Kagawa) is a 46-year-old man who works in office administration. When his company outsources work to a Chinese firm, Sasaki leaves his position after failing to cite another capacity in which he might be of use. Humiliated, he keeps his job loss a secret from his wife Megumi (Kyoko Koizumi) and spends his days acclimating himself to the rituals and culture of the unemployed. Still, he tries to maintain his reign over his household and his independent-minded sons. The elder son, Takashi (Yu Koyanagi), is frequently absent from home and wants to join the U.S. military surge in the Middle East. Kenji (Kai Inowaki), the son in grade school, has a desire to play piano but is refused the opportunity by his father.

The first half of Tokyo Sonata is meditative and unfolds at a languid pace, but those qualities are betrayed by a sudden flurry of incidents—some implausible—that unhinge the film. Once the mayhem ensues, commonalities with American Beauty—such as the opening shot of a newspaper being blown around by the wind—become more apparent, and you begin to wonder at what point disbelief should be abandoned entirely. Astoundingly, the film regroups for a poetic, gratifying climax.


Author rating: 5/10

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