After learning that his stomach cancer has left him with less than a year to live, a Tokyo bureaucrat struggles to reconcile with his impending death and begins looking for ways to make his remaining days meaningful.
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Takashi Shimura's heartbreakingly stooped Watanabe rages against the dying of the light in this missing link between Capra and Spielberg. Its theme of 'carpe diem' is comfortably well-worn, and there are traces here of everything from 'A Christmas Carol' to 'Breaking Bad'. The posthumous, flashback-filled debate about motives and project ownership is hilarious - '12 Angry Men' with office politics and copious sake.
Takashi Shimura as Mr Watanabe must be one of the worst casting decisions ever. For 90% of the screentime he looks like Mathieu Amalric tripping on hard drugs. It's difficult to focus on his final days of life when he clearly suffers from a severe form of autism. PPL DON'T STARE AT EACH OTHER LIKE THAT. There's even this particular scene where he enters a strip club and starts barking at women like an orangutan. Why?
Stunning, this is one of those films that achieved what I consider a cinematic perfection. What I mean by that is that this is one of those films that can change the way the audience look at their life and how to make the most of it. Beautiful.
I didn't thought it was that good, too melodramatic (my beef with most of Kurosawa's movies) and single-minded for my taste but at least it scores points avoiding clichés and showing bureaucracy just the way it is and it has been for almost 60 years now. What I respect about the movie though is that it prompts you to find a balance in your own life as well, assuming you still haven't thought about that yet.
A very different film from Akira Kurosawa - a very personal, poignant character study that is a simplistic story about complex emotions; with a superb, authentic performance from Takashi Shimura. It's biggest flaw is its slow pacing, it drags in several places and looses steam toward the end. But at its best moments, a true classic.