Archive for February 2012
Koji Yakusho phones in another performance in Shuichi Okita’s ill-conceived The Woodsman and the Rain. Hinting at some larger themes of father/son relationships, the film ultimately delivers little but half-baked clichés. The story, such as it is, involves Katsu (Koji Yakusho) a taciturn woodsman who becomes father figure, guide and muse to film director Koichi (Shun Oguri), who’s shooting a zombie movie in Katsu’s backwoods village. As Koichi goes through a crisis of confidence (who wouldn’t being stuck in the filmic trope of making a zombie movie?), Katsu takes the reins, gathering a group of stereotypical and energetic villagers to finish the film within the film. Unresolved bits between Katsu and his real son (Kengo Kora) add to the ruse that there may be something of some substance being explored in the film. By the end there’s a bittersweet resolution that feels completely unearned. Between screenwriter Fumiyo Moriya’s (Underwater Love – ‘nuff said!) unfocused ideas and Okita’s imitation of film directing, The Woodsman and the Rain is a particularly wooden and waterlogged motion picture.
Originally published in EL Magazine, February, 2011.