REVIEW: After the Storm

5 05 2017

“Every year, men are becoming less manly,” says Hiroshi Abe’s Ryota, a pot calling the kettle black if ever there were one. He’s a man who’s not ready to have a family yet, as stated by the woman who bore his child in a misguided effort to nudge him to such a place. And yet, this prolonged adolescence provides a career in private investigation of cheating husbands for failed novelist Ryota.

Kore-Eda Hirokazu’s “After the Storm” takes some time to acquaint us with Ryota’s life. It’s not a plot-driven film, which is not to say that nothing happens. A fair amount does, particularly surrounding his continued affection for his ex-wife as she moves onto a new beau and tries to consolidate custody. Meanwhile, Ryota is mostly stuck trying to stay above water financially and musing to his son, “I’m not who I want to be yet.”

It’s not Kore-Eda’s most consequential work, but since “After the Storm” never aspires to “Like Father, Like Son” levels of profundity, it never feels slight. The film provides another great showcase of the writer/director’s perceptive understanding of human interaction. Even without great thematic heft, spending two hours observing the world through his eyes is a worthwhile use of time. B

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