Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Jmovie review: Nobody to watch over me/Dare mo mamotte kurenai

Nobody to watch over me starts of with an interesting introduction:

ln the event a minor commits a serious criminal offense, police authorities may seek to shield
the minor's family from excessive media scrutiny and public hostility. This protection is given to prevent members of the accused's family from taking their own lives in response to the trauma. Such suicides have occurred in the past. Authorities have not admitted to this practice.

Then we get a slow motion montage of Saori (Shida Mirai) playing happily in school while the police storm her house to arrest her brother for murder. News spreads like wildfire and very soon, a huge contingent of media is camp outside Saori's home. The police explain to Saori's family that for the rest of their lives, they will be hounded and be known as a killer's family. Officials from the ward office and family court arrive with divorce papers for Saori's parents to sign. They are administratively divorce and remarried under the wife's family name.

The family members are to be separated and Katsura (Sato Koichi) and Mishima (Matsuda Ryuhei) are in charge of protecting Saori. What follows is a decent car chase scene (by Japanese standards) as the press chase the car Saori is in through the streets. Up to this point, I'm really loving the police vs media procedural stuff. Its a different angle from your usual crime stories and I'm just happy to see a realistic Japanese police show. Things happen and and Katsura is forced to flee the city with Saori. It becomes more of a road movie, dwelling into an incident in Katsura's past that continues to haunt him.

The first half is pretty good. The second half, we get to the purpose of a movie which is a debate about the family of victims vs family of the accused. Aishiteru explored this subject as well, though from a slightly different slant. The concept of family being responsible for the actions of one family member is something that I can never understand. Collective responsibility, yes but not for criminal actions. It would be interesting to find out how the majority of Japanese view these matters but judging from doramas and movies, the public is happy to crucify the whole family for the sin of one. Dare mo mamotte kurenai also looks at the internet and its effect on a public that is always curious about murder cases and overly eager to condemn family members.

Very weird to see Muroi Shinji not in his usual dead serious, non smiling role.

There are a lot of themes explored in this movie including forgiveness and moving on but it does it with a subtlety of a sledgehammer. I think Dare mo mamotte kurenai tries to do way too much that it feels so uneven and unwieldy. There's too many angles driving this movie without one major thread to hold it all together. You got Saori's story competing against Katsura and the net angle and not to mention Giragira's waste of time role. Saori's story is supposed to be the main one and yet it feels so undeveloped. It has a great beginning but not enough substance to make the ending work.

Good thing she doesn't look as anorexic as she was in Uta no Onisan.

Its a shame that such a high budget movie with a great cast is let down in the end by the script that tries way too hard to be great. I think it sort of worth watching for the first half.


Anonymous said...

Have to agree that this movie is great at the beginning.. and then slumps off toward the end.

Anonymous said...

Have not got to watched Dare Mo Mamotte Kurenai yet. Cannot tell how it will grip me.

However, I have watched Aishteru. It is good. A story well told. Gives the audience a subtle insight into what life is like in Japan (every country is different). Most importantly, it shows how the State, which has a good policy and systems in place "saves" and rehabilitate young lives who have done wrong and how it carefully guides the parents through the difficult steps to "recover" their troubled child, etc, etc, etc (too many aspects to mention). Very detailed and well written script.

If anyone is up for this type of social or family drama, watch it when you have the time.

If I am not mistaken, I think Aishteru won an award for best drama last year.

philipp said...

I'd like to know, where people used to download Jmovie and Jdrama. anybody could help me?