13 July 2007 | whatdoes1know
A lady's memoirs of the young kamikaze pilots who ate at her diner, as told by the Governor of Tokyo
We are told early on that the kamikaze missions were entirely suicidal, and that therefore sinking a ship wasn't half as important as dying in front of the enemy. In the same breath, "voluntary" enlistment for those missions is revealed to have been an irrevocable order. Once the demented premise established, the episodes of various young men and how they spent their last moments come and go, as simply and as mercilessly as History sent off its zero fighters. The grainy footage and detail to military mannerism and apparatus give an authentic flavor that counterbalances the poor effects and sparse, but undeniable awful (child) acting. The first two thirds are drama heavy, and the climactic beautifully and obviously computer-generated aerial battle comes early at the head of the third act, which then peters out into a dragging epilogue about the aftermath of war that stretches out of the frame into the present. Personally, I have never found that plot device a good idea to begin with, but it is especially poorly executed in Japanese movies, such as Otoko-tachi no Yamato (2005), Lorelei (2005), The Twilight Samurai (2002), or Murudeka 17805 (2001). The credits should start rolling right after the last plane crashes, leaving the remaining twenty minutes to those who wish to stay seated. The weight of the movie still rests in the first half hour, but that alone is worth the price of admission. The Governor of Tokyo scripted the movie based on the stories he heard from the diner lady around whom the movie is centered.