HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Honeymoon Phase, The
One Summer
Bird Island
Variety
Devil to Pay, The
Gypsy
Lost in London
Divorce Italian Style
Becky
Salon Kitty
Misbehaviour
Charles, Dead or Alive
Gretel and Hansel
Mademoiselle
Tunnel, The
India Song
Last Rhino, The
Made in Hong Kong
Ring of Spies
Rom Boys: 40 Years of Rad
Pocketful of Miracles
The Tomb: Devil's Revenge
Sidecar Racers
Space Dogs
Out/Marriage
Safety Last!
Bride Who Has Returned from Hell, The
Show Boat
Savage
City Called Dragon, A
I Used to Go Here
Six Suspects
Still the Water
Not Now, Comrade
I'm Thinking of Ending Things
Wives of the Skies
Two Heads Creek
Next Stop, Greenwich Village
Captain, The
Great Wall, A
   
 
Newest Articles
A Knock on the Door at 4 O'clock in the Morning: The Strangers on Blu-ray
Wives of the Skies: Honey Lauren Interview
To Catch a Thief: After the Fox on Blu-ray
Tackling the Football Film: The Arsenal Stadium Mystery on Blu-ray
Film Noir's Golden Couple: This Gun for Hire on Blu-ray
The Doctor Who Connection: Invasion on Blu-ray
Hill's Angles: Benny Hill and Who Done It? on Blu-ray
Big Willie Style: Keep It Up Downstairs on Blu-ray
Walt's Vault: 5 Cult Movies on Disney+
Paradise Lost: Walkabout on Blu-ray
Buster Makes Us Feel Good: Buster Keaton - 3 Films (Volume 3) on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 3 - Don't Go Away - I Could Do with a Bit of Cheer Now!
What Use is Grief to a Horse? Equus on Blu-ray
For God's Sake Strap Yourselves Down: Flash Gordon on 4K UHD Collector's Edition
Party Hard: Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 2 - Your Faces are All Blurred!
Eve Knew Her Apples: The Lady Eve on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Tempo - Gallery One
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 1 - Welcome Once Again to Manchester!
Transformative Apocalypses: Phase IV and Southland Tales
The Happiest Days of Their Lives: The Guinea Pig on Blu-ray
Faced Poe: Three Edgar Allan Poe Adaptations Starring Bela Lugosi on Blu-ray
Hard Luck, Buster: The Cameraman on Blu-ray
At the Hop: Mr. Vampire on Blu-ray
Divine Madness: Female Trouble on Blu-ray
   
 
  Still the Water The Sea Is A Harsh Mistress
Year: 2014
Director: Naomi Kawase
Stars: Nijiro Murakami, Junko Abe, Miyuke Matsuda, Tetta Sugimoto, Makiko Watanabe, Jun Murakami, Hideo Sakaki, Sadae Sakae, Kazuro Maeda, Mistuaki Nakano, Yukiharu Kawabata, Yukiyo Maeda, Kinue Yasuda, Fujio Tokita
Genre: Drama, RomanceBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Kaito (Nijiro Murakami) lives on a Japanese island with his single mother, his father, who he remains in contact with, having left some time before. He has trouble thinking of his mother as a woman who may be interested in other men, but something happens one evening that crystallises his feelings in a shocking way when he is out on the beach, after the storm has happened earlier that day, and discovers a naked man's dead body floating near the shore. It has a tattoo on its back that has significance for Kaito, and when his girlfriend Kyoko (Junko Abe) tries to ask him what is wrong, he turns tail and flees into the darkness. The police are called in to investigate this corpse, not sure if there are suspicious circumstances, but what does Kaito know?

Writer and director Naomi Kawase decided to big up herself when Still the Water was released by announcing, guess what everyone, I've made a masterpiece! We'll be the judge of that, said the majority of those who watched it, and while there were some who agreed with her self-assessment, there were more who failed to see what was so great about her achievement here, settling on a description not as a masterpiece, but as yet another indulgent arthouse effort that littered the independent cinemas of the world and tended to pick up awards and that sort of praise, but not so many audiences who embraced her work enthusiastically. Not as enthusiastically as Kawase herself had embraced her work, which had only bred suspicion in those coming to this.

Mind you, if you don't have confidence in your projects, what's the point in making them? British director Bryan Forbes famously proclaimed his own film Whistle Down the Wind as one of the greatest ever made in a poll of filmmakers' opinions, so Kawase was merely following in that boastful tradition. The problem arrived when you had to consider if she was correct in her assessment; she had certainly amassed a small but loyal following of those who responded to her sensitive, at times enigmatic dramas, and if they were happy with her output then who were the naysayers to complain they may not be too critical in their conclusions, or not critical enough? What the main issue here would be was the apparently placid surface of contemplation of life, gender differences, nature and so forth, and the jarring way Kawase interrupted this.

Therefore you would be just settling into a groove of watching Kaito and Kyoko, say, sharing a bike ride down a picturesque seaside road, and five minutes later you were watching a goat being slaughtered for real on camera to make some statement or other about death. Now, there was a dying character in the story, Kyoko's mother who she shares significant conversations with as she gradually slips away, and you would have thought that would be enough to bring out that particular theme, but nope, we had to have authentic animal death too - not to mention the destruction of a centuries old banyan tree that may well make the average nature lover wince. Then there was Kaito's confrontation with his mother in the latter stages that reveals him as an awful prig who only thinks about himself, fair enough, this was part of his journey to coming to terms with himself, but it was not a scene in isolation. What you were left with were a series of attractive visuals broken up by shots of ugliness, and vague instructions to learn something from this experience. Maybe you will, maybe you won't. Music by Hashiken.

[Click here to watch on MUBI.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 278 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Paul Smith
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
  Lee Fiveash
  Mick Stewart
Enoch Sneed
  Dsfgsdfg Dsgdsgsdg
   

 

Last Updated: