13 October 2013 | CountZero313
overlong melodrama that fails to make a point
A former punk musician finds his new undertaking as a Zen priest difficult to adjust to, as he feels music and not religion may just be the thing to live for.
This film has under-stated performances, some lovely comedic moments, and the occasional good tune. The camera-work is excellent and the cuts have clearly been pre-planned. Sadly, there just isn't enough meat in this script to keep you engaged.
We know our hero is depressed because he takes pills and walks around with his head sagging. He copes, till a healthy man with his own business, a loving wife, no financial woes and a typically stroppy teenage son decides for some reason that this is too much and offs himself. It is this shallow representation of suicide and mental illness that does not quite convince. The priest himself neglects his devoted wife and loving son, and I for one couldn't quite forgive him for it. I think we are supposed to feel his pain. I just wanted to give the self-indulgent narcissist a good shake.
The reaction shots of everyone smiling at the climax song implies one sad priest getting to take his shirt off on stage has briefly saved the world. Such melodrama would be hard to swallow in an afternoon soap opera, but in a 113-minute film that purports to be a meditation on the meaning of life it is suffocating. The running time felt like three hours.
Kato displays deft shot flow and a penchant for mise-en-scene, but unless he gets to grips with the basics of script I won't be tempted by any future outings.