top 20 of 2012 number 9
The fact that Kurosawa is able to hold us spellbound for 5 hours straight is a testament to the power of his script and direction. Performances by mostly female cast are extraordinary. Series has a slow build of clues and pieces of information that lead us further into explanation and into the past. Perhaps one coincidence too many in clever script but doesn't take away from final result and satisfaction. Wow.
TIFF '12 Too long a break from Kurosawa that has resulted in this incredible epic length picture orginally made as a miniseries for Japanese television. A school girl is murdered with 4 young witnesses unable to help in revealing the perpertrator. The overcome mother demands that each will deliver a penance of her choosing in the future. 15 years later we catch up with each young woman episode by episode. continued.
If watched as a five part series, which should be, Penance is not your normal revenge flick. An exhaustive, character study on trauma, regret, and sadness.
Kurosawa has crafted another unsettling yet poetic work that is part whodunnit, part treatise on the modern Japanese woman, with echoes of Park Chan-wook's Vengeance Trilogy. Although the formula of the series establishes itself from the first episode, it never fails to surprise, even when it appears to head toward predictable turns. The five women are phenomenal, especially Koizumi, Ando and Ikewaki.