A prize-winning author that wastes his money on gambling struggles to take back control of his existence as his aging mother and ex-wife move on with their lives, until a stormy summer night offers him a chance to bond with his young son once again.
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Seems like Kore-eda's Ozu rips come and go like the seasons these days—that is, each of his family dramas, much like each spring, is both immediately comparable and subtly distinct from the one before it. It won't take you long to realize that the "storm" of the title is a divorce, but Kore-eda's perspective pacifies schmaltzy melodrama into melancholy and blissful observation. Not one of his best, but well worth it.
It bares pausing to consider as regards the more recent works of Kore-eda, that this is the same guy who made MABOROSI and AFTER LIFE. It is clear we are dealing w/ a comparatively humble artist. But he has not forfeited profundity in service to understatement and warmth. The last shot here (without giving anything away) frames all that has preceded, and is as wise as anything I have recently encountered.
Familiar territory, but what do we want, perpetual disorientation? As it happens, there's usually more than enough of the latter hiding in plain old, same old sight, if we look closely at it while we live there. Kore-Eda looks closely, so we feel keenly the quotidian strangeness of being these particular characters, arrayed around a formerly promising novelist turned stymied manchild, all pursuing something passing.
The delicate art of filmmaking is subtil as can be when you have Kore-Eda as director. A lot is not said, you have to pay attention to details. All together it is very modest and emotional at the same time. Almost no music (there used to be no music at all in his earlier films) and just the repetition of everyday life. His art becomes more and more mainstream but doesn´t lose its strenght. Modern Ozu.