6 July 2018 | gerald-koh99
Great portrayal of ordinary folks' struggles and haunted pasts
Excellently scripted and full of impressive subtleties, Shoplifters is a harrowing look at a working-class family in Tokyo, in the business of trying to simply make ends meet day by day. At first glance this may seem like just a story of this family resorting to petty crime, but as the plot gradually unfolds the reasons for the behaviour and decisions of each character is revealed, and al the dots begin to connect amidst this struggle.
Certainly seeing some of the characters getting involved in decidedly immoral behaviour- for example, the shoplifting carried out by the young boy and his father (as the title indications) and one young lady making a living off involvement in the porn industry, can be uncomfortable to see and it does present the characters in this film as morally dubious. But the whole situation that these people are in, and partially choose to create themselves, is eventually presented to the audience with unassuming subtlety, which is beautiful to watch. The overall tone of this film is fairly grim, and there is definitely raw emotional power to many scenes, but the acting and the script never at any point becomes overly sentimental or tragic. The scenarios and emotions that each character faces is really presented as it is, but of course with much delicacy.
This film may be relatively slow-paced and not visually stunning, but is breathtaking nonetheless. It's no wonder why it managed to win the Palme D'or! It's definitely going to end up as one of the best films of the year and will probably be recognised as a classic long in the future. Regardless of which culture you're from, I highly recommend checking this film out. It should deeply resonate with and impress any film lover.