Tuesday 14 April 2009

Movie: Departures (Okuribito)

I guess you can easily find much better review of this movie than the one you are reading now, but I do think it is worth to make a few comments using my own words. Don’t worry, there will be no spoiler.

For those of you who have seen some trailers of this movie, you know it is a story about a Japanese cellist who lost his job after the orchestra disbanded, and you know he eventually got a job and became an undertaker, or mortician in the States.

But what I actually want to say is how much appreciation I have for the undertakers after watching this movie. I had always thought that undertakers are for people who have weird interests, or are only taken up by those who find no other jobs to do. After watching this movie, I have totally changed my perception for this. Undertakers are one of the most courage-testing jobs in the world and they can too be highly respected like fire fighters.

I enjoyed the fun and joyful atmosphere that the movie began with, totally unlike what I have first expected of this movie – to be gloomy, grey and sorrowful. Masahiro Motoki’s character of Daigo, looked puzzled, confused and innocent most of the time but carried quite a bit of cuteness (according to my girlfriend) and lots of his moral perseverance (according to myself).

My second favourite character is Tsutomu Yamazaki’s Ikuei Sasaki, the owner of the undertaker company. He kept his cool at all time, and like most Japanese movies, he is an aged yet deep and experienced figure, who is most likely to be elusive and unreachable at first, but later found to be extremely enlightening and incredibly understanding. Although this I had expected, I wasn’t bored by yet another spiritual leader as such.

Finally, apart from the simple yet great storyline, I was deeply immersed into the movie by the music in this movie. Particularly, the theme song “Memory” by Joe Hisaishi 久石 譲 . I did a little search on the internet, and immediately understand why he is the best you can get – even Hayao Miyazaki 宮﨑 駿is a big fan of him and used his music in so many of his animes! Including the latest "Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea 崖の上のポニョ"

Comparing with Slumdog Millionaire, I will choose this one. Definitely a movie to watch again and again!

Music on Youtube:

Official English Website: