Huh. This is about Japanese war criminals in prisons run by Americans? So we’re supposed to be sympathetic to the Japanese, I think? Because the American guards are portrayed as being kinda uncouth. Not much couth on display.
And whenever an “American” talks we get some side titles. Most of them don’t sound like they have English (or even American) as their native language… are all the non-Japanese actors from Russia or something?
Er uhm me too? Or not?
This movie seems to lack some context… but everything here was probably crystal clear to an audience when the movie was new? But at this remove, it’s pretty opaque.
And really tedious. I don’t know if I’m going to last the duration, because it’s pretty uninspiring: Quotidian cinematography, actors that aren’t really convincing, and a plot that doesn’t seem to be… there?
(I’m using the word “quotidian” here because Louis Malle talked “quotidienne” in last night’s movie and now it’s stuck in by brain.)
This is the worst kind of movie to watch — it’s well-meaning and heartfelt, but just isn’t very good?
It’s nice to have characters in the movie just state the premise of the movie, isn’t it?
It’s interesting that this movie isn’t trying to argue that these people are innocent or antyhing. It’s just about how unfair it is how there people are punished while their superiors are going free?
I realise that this was made in the 50s, and it took courage to even try to do a movie that criticised anything in the Japanese military… but having read more than my fill of Japanese autobio comics (and even some novels) from these years, this movie is really soft-pedalling everything. So there’s a kind of disconnect between the “here’s the truth!” stance of this movie and how much worse it really was.
But positing from the point of view of war criminals is original.
I think that’s an admirable goal.
This is the kind of movie I really want to love? Because it’s heartfelt and admirable? And I can understand what a struggle it must have been to make this?
But it’s just not a good film on any level. So:
The Thick-Walled Room. Masaki Kobayashi. 1956.
This blog post is part of the Eclipse series.