Snow Falling On Cedars
Ethan Hawke ... Ishmael Chambers
Youki Kudoh ... Hatsue Miyamoto
Reeve Carney ... Young Ishmael Chambers
Anne Suzuki ... Young Hatsue Imada
Rick Yune ... Kazuo Miyamoto
Max von Sydow ... Nels Gudmundsson (as Max Von Sydow)
James Rebhorn ... Alvin Hooks
James Cromwell ... Judge Fielding
Richard Jenkins ... Sheriff Art Moran
David Guterson (novel)
Ronald Bass (screenplay) (as Ron Bass) and
Scott Hicks (screenplay)
A murder trial in a remote Pacific Northwest island stirs memories of lost love and exposes the towns ethnic bias towards it's hard working immigrant neighbors.
CONCEPT IN RELATION TO THE VIEWER
Learning to let go of past loves and the struggle between doing the right thing as opposed to trying to recapture our youth.
PROS AND CONS
I came across this film on DVD while I was at the local public library. I had heard of it but did not know much about it. I took it home and it sat on my DVD player until the day before it was due to be returned. We fired up the DVD that evening and my wife and I watched it all the way through. We were both pretty impressed.
The first thing that astounds you about this film is the cinematography. Having dabbled in film making myself, I know how hard it was to get many of the shots you see in this film. This film was nominated for an Oscar for it cinematography for good reason, it is absolutely beautiful to watch.
The other thing that impressed me so much about this film was the period look. The set designers worked overtime on this film to get the look of the late 1940s Pacific Northwest just right. Having lived in Oregon and Washington this film made me long for the cold, wet winters, the cedar and pine trees and the crashing of the ocean against rocky shores.
Many of my fellow bloggers write film reviews and give their opinions on the current state of Hollywood and the entertainment industry. Most of these reviews center around the current phase of fantasy and escapist films that the Southern California special effects factories churn out on a quarterly basis. Most are slick, some are will written (even though they are based on comic books), but most leave me empty. That isn't the case with this work. Snow Falling On Cedars deals with the emotions of life spanning years, wars, loves and moral struggles in a small, idyllic, remote community.
The film deals with issues all of us will face at some point in our lives which is why it is so moving to watch. The viewer can relate to what is going on with the characters and come to the understanding that we all share something of the human experience. There are few cons with this film. The acting by the cast is competent if not exceptional. Max Von Sydow's closing arguments in the murder trial may be one of the best I have ever seen on film. I highly recommend this film.
Clicking on the "Essential Cinema" title will take you to the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) entry for this film. The listing of all the LaserDiscs that I have reviewed on IMDB can be found here.
Clicking here will take you to a listing of all the "Essential Cinema" reviews in my Blog.