30 November 2018 | MartinHafer
Saying this film is a comedy is problematic...it's so much more.
"Survival Family" is a very memorable and unusual film. However, simply calling it a comedy is a mistake. While there are a few comedic moments, the overall tone is NOT funny and there is far more depth and heart to the movie than you'll find in a mere comedy.
The story begins in Tokyo. A very ordinary (for better or worse) are the focus of the movie...and their lives are turned upside down when all power, including battery power, instantly vanishes. Now, obtaining food, water and living their everyday lives is becoming impossible...and the family decides to head out to the country where the mother's parents live. But how to get there? Trains, cars and other conventional forms of transportation are useless...and they are forced to bicycle their way out of this hellish city. The film chronicles there very long, scary and incredibly dangerous trek.
The main thing I got out of this film was NOT comedy nor laughs. Instead, I really appreciated the way the filmmakers show us just how impossible most of our lives would be in this sort of situation...with a disintegration of social rules and mores. As a result, the story really makes you think....and most comedies are not concered with making us think...just laugh.
In addition to opening up the viewers' eyes, the film works well because of the lovely acting...and especially the writing and direction of Shinobu Yaguchi. He really did a marvelous job...and it left me wanting to see more of his movies. Well worth seeing...clever, heart-felt and, occasionally funny.
By the way, in order to understand the sorts of price gouging that occurs in the film, it helps to know the value of the yen. In US dollars, 100 yen are worth about $.89....making a bottle of bottled water, post-apocalypse, cost about $20 in the film.