Mary Poppins Returns
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All Critics (6)
| Top Critics (4)
| Fresh (6)
| Rotten (0)
Oshima, the Japanese filmmaker most often compared with Godard, treats the material in a matter-of-fact manner that serves to heighten the dramatic impact and to create one of the most interesting films about children ever made.
Happiness and contentment are not in the cards for Toshio, and Ôshima never sentimentalizes his existence nor lets him off the hook for his crimes. But still we feel, deeply and profoundly, for this lost soul.
This is what contemporary Japan looks like, it says: Not pillow shots and sword fights, just a country populated largely by predators and prey.
Nagisa Oshima offers a quietly bilious vision of mercenary corruption and postwar trauma.
An acerbic coming-of-age tale about a family of con artists faking car accidents and blackmailing the drivers to pay them off.
Nagisa Oshima and screenwriter Tsutomu Tamura encourage empathy without requiring emotionalism.
"Shonen" disappointed me. A con-artist family -- father, mother and two young sons (only one of whom is the woman's) -- struggles to survive across a variety of Japanese cities. The father dubiously claims to be a war-wounded invalid unable to hold a normal job, so the mother and older, titular son solicit funds by artfully throwing themselves into the sides of passing cars and feigning injury. The drivers inevitably offer the family money, to hush up the accident and avoid police involvement. But tensions persist within the family, due to fears about being captured and the father's brutish nature.
The film just wanders on, repeating this same scenario. The cast lacks charisma, and the boy isn't much of an actor (his "crying" is particularly suspect). Very little story development occurs until the final 15 minutes or so.
This was not the heart-tugging tragedy which I anticipated.
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