Fires of the Plain (Nobi) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Fires of the Plain (Nobi) Reviews

Page 1 of 5
Super Reviewer
August 3, 2009
A brutal look at the last days of the second World War for a group of Japanese soldiers in the Philippines. Our protagonist is a TB-infected soldier who the hospital won't admit because he isn't sick enough, as he 'can still walk". He is run out of his unit because he is eating valuable food -- mostly yams -- and not able to contribute to gathering it. He then meets up with a variety of soldiers who aren't much better off than he is. He witnesses illnesses, cruelty, starvation and even cannibalism in the end. The horrifying events shown are even more shocking in that the story is based on true-life, a book written by a soldier who witnessed all this and probably more. The only ising that keeps me from giving this a higher rating is the first few minutes of the film. Our protagonist is standing at attention while he is reamed out by his commander. This reaming-out is basically exposition of the story. I would have liked it more had the action been played out rather than just explained. But other than that, a quality film from beginning to end.
sanjurosamurai
Super Reviewer
January 30, 2009
another brilliant film from the great kon ichikawa. fires of the plain deals with taboo subjetcs for japanese culture such as the surrender of soldiers in the time of war and cannabalism, but there is a sense of honesty and reality in the portrayal of these things. the camera work and acting were perfect, and although the story hit a wall for about 20 minutes in the middle, it picked back up and ended with excellence. beautiful anti-war film.
Super Reviewer
January 3, 2008
Beautifully shot, but disturbing stuff here. This is how war movies should be made.
Harlequin68
Super Reviewer
February 11, 2007
[font=Century Gothic]In "Fires on the Plain", it is February 1945 and things are going disastrously bad for the Japanese army in the Philippines, having lost an enormous amount of men in combat. And the return of PFC Tamura(Eiji Funakoshi) from the hospital after three days treatment for tuberculosis is not helping matters for there is little food left and the men are digging unnecessary air defense trenches with pans and other improvisatory tools just to keep busy. He is ordered to return to the hospital, and if they don't keep him this time, he is ordered to use his handgrenade on himself.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]"Fires on the Plain" is a harrowing and bleak movie about the dehumanizing effects of war which is helped from being told from the vantage point of a single ordinary soldier. It is unique for a war movie in that the outcome is not in doubt. The battle has already been fought and now all that matters is survival at any cost.[/font]
March 1, 2013
A beautifully filmed, intense anti-war film, Kon Ichikawa's Fires on the Plain is a harrowing descent into despair. Faced with the fundamental existential decision of whether or not to commit suicide, protagonist Tamura wanders around a newly conquered island in the Philippines near the close of WWII. Near death from tuberculosis, Tamura seeks a place with various army units on the island but is denied because of his condition and is even ordered to commit suicide. But Tamura refuses to give up and continues to roam the hellish landscape of the island as dark temptations of murder and cannibalism begin gnawing at his conscience. Will he submit to these animalistic desires to survive or will he preserve his humanity until the end? This is the haunting question that lies at the heart of Ichikawa's horrifying depiction of war when all the aspirations of honor, patriotism, and just cause are stripped away to reveal the bleeding corpses that support the effort.
February 19, 2008
It is certainly a good film but I didn't really like it. Theoretically I should have loved it with its documentary-like construction where things happen because they happen and not because it fits the structure of the story. Here the characters need not to be build: they are who they are, period. Besides, the story is told in such a way that you find yourself laughing in front of a most tragic situation. Still something was missing. The absurdity of the situation is such that I just couldn't feel any empathy with the main character (great actor by the way). It is also partly due to the way the film is shot, the images are very empty and airy. It lacks the filling of claustrophobia that would induce fear and thus make the audience feel like if they were in the shoes of the character.But, lets be fair, it is a good movie, well worth watching.
½ January 6, 2010
This is a movie for people who like movie making and deep symbolic storytelling. So much happens in this movie that represents the tragedies of war to people, culture and human psychology. Plus, it is very visual in its poetic representation of the situations. It doesn?t really seem like war, but when you think about it, it is a perfect portrayal of it, just something that is not shown in the overwhelming majority of way movies. And this was made in the 50s. It?s a war polemic that is just as great as All Quiet on the Western Front in its message, artistry and timing.

I looked up this movie because of the storyline of the Philippines, not my home but the home of part of my ancestry. And when I found out that it was panned by most when it came out and even the Japanese couldn?t digest it and its messages, but is now thought of to be a gem, I had to see it. Not to mention I listened to a podcast about WW2 straglers left on islands.

For fans of classic message war movies, this is a must.
½ March 19, 2007
A simply stunning film. Not for the casual filmgoer, but a tremendous statement about the brutality and true horror of war. This is a masterpiece.
July 16, 2012
A fantastic and touching tale of human desperation.
May 10, 2012
More than half a century after its release, Fires on the Plain stands tall not only as a painfully accurate depiction of WWII's Pacific Theater, but as a testament to the horrific side-effects of war. Alongside a superb script and gripping performances, Nobi is glaring look at humanity at its lowest. The film's execution flawlessly captures the fleeting line between life and death; this is a film that will stay with the audience long after it's over.
December 21, 2010
Tuesday, December 21, 2010

(1959) Fires on a Plain
(In Japanese with English subtitles)

Story based on actual fact from a novel written by Shohei Ooka while serving for the Japanese army during WWII during the invasion of the Phillipines! Anti-war movie which showcases almost at the end of WWII and the Japanese had already been defeated, turning the focus on a particular person by the name of Tamura while suffering from turbecolosis who gets rejected by first the hospital he was ordered to resettle until it was blown away, taking no prisoners was not an option during that particular time since they'd just be shot down, forcing remaining survivors to find refuge on their own! Hunger was so bad with some of the remaining survivors of the Japanese soldiers that it would lead them to commit acts of cannibalism! This is not a pretty film to watch!

3 out of 4
August 15, 2009
A great anti-war film. Chilling, dismal, and pessimistic, in every meaning of the word.
August 9, 2009
An absolutely dismal view of humanity descending into a state of desperation. Inevitably, humans become mere beasts when faced with starvation and certain death, which is graphically demonstrated by this film. If you can handle the horrors of war, this movie will show you the worst of them.
½ July 23, 2009
It is February 1945 and with the war all but lost, the remaining Japanese soldiers on the island of Leyte (Philippines) make do with dwindling supplies. Private Tamura (Eiji Funakoshi) is an unwanted man. Too sick with tuberculosis to remain with his unit, he is ordered by his commanding officer to report to the nearest field hospital as he is just a burden to his fellow soldiers. His CO angrily orders him to kill himself with a hand grenade if the field hospital turns him away - which they do - as the doctors deem Pvt. Tamura not sick enough to admit - not with a hospital woefully short of supplies. Unable to use the grenade on himself, Pvt. Tamura wanders the Philippine countryside - a witnesses to the harrowing and withering effects of a sustained war on soldiers and filipino civilians alike.

In a way, this film is similar to APOCALYPSE, NOW in that it follows a man on a journey which gets darker and grim the farther he goes . Here, Pvt. Tamura tries to travel (by foot) to the evacuation zone. The farther he journeys - the greater the dehumanizing effects of the war is apparent. With food and supplies all but exhausted - some soldiers resort to cannibalism. Even surrender does not seem to be an option, as the resentful filipino forces would just as soon shoot a japanese soldier as take him prisoner.

The film is shot in a black & white widescreen format...and one of the film's plusses is the exceptional cinematography of Setsuo Kobayashi - creating a seeming Hell in the Eden-like environs of the Philippine countryside.

9 / 10
November 23, 2007
[i][b]Rescue Dawn [/b][/i]>> Feels like it could have been made twenty years ago. Not sure if that's a good or a bad thing. In a bad way, it seems as though this story has been told before. The main characters make this story worth the journey.
[i]Recommended rental for most film-goers, unless they need relentless action or comedy.[/i]

[i][b]Nobi (Fires on the Plain)[/b][/i] >> One of the best war movies I've seen so far. Shows the viewers the ugly side of war and how it tears up these Japanese soldiers both physically and mentally. It's not about defeating the enemy; it's about wanting it all to be over.
[i]Recommended for foreign/classic movie fans.[/i]

Both these films are carried not by the fast paced action of war but by the characters' struggles through survival, starvation, and violence.
Harlequin68
Super Reviewer
February 11, 2007
[font=Century Gothic]In "Fires on the Plain", it is February 1945 and things are going disastrously bad for the Japanese army in the Philippines, having lost an enormous amount of men in combat. And the return of PFC Tamura(Eiji Funakoshi) from the hospital after three days treatment for tuberculosis is not helping matters for there is little food left and the men are digging unnecessary air defense trenches with pans and other improvisatory tools just to keep busy. He is ordered to return to the hospital, and if they don't keep him this time, he is ordered to use his handgrenade on himself.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]"Fires on the Plain" is a harrowing and bleak movie about the dehumanizing effects of war which is helped from being told from the vantage point of a single ordinary soldier. It is unique for a war movie in that the outcome is not in doubt. The battle has already been fought and now all that matters is survival at any cost.[/font]
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