Sponsor

New Release Review - STILL THE WATER

The discovery of a corpse prompts an existential crisis for a pair of teens.


Review by Eric Hillis

Directed by: Naomi Kawase

Starring: Nijiro Murakami, Jun Yoshinaga, Miyuki Matsuda



"Still the Water? More like Stop the Projector. This self-indulgent twaddle, with its cod philosophy and catfish mysticism, made for two of the most mind and butt numbing hours I've spent in a screening room in quite some time."



Still the Water? More like Stop the Projector. This self-indulgent twaddle, with its cod philosophy and catfish mysticism, made for two of the most mind and butt numbing hours I've spent in a screening room in quite some time. If you've ever found yourself trapped in a corner of a party with a pair of stoned surfers, you'll have some idea of what an awful experience Naomi Kawase's film makes for.
The central protagonists are a pair of teens, the joyful Kyoko (Jun Yoshinaga) and the moapy Kaito (Nijiro Murakami), residents of a screen saver idyllic paradise on the Japanese coastline. One night, while moaping around on the beach, Kaito discovers the body of a man face down in the surf. Rather than reporting his find, he runs away, but is spotted by Kyoko, who harbours a baffling affection for the miserable tyke.
The setup fools us into believing we're in for an Eastern take on River's Edge, but the corpse is barely mentioned after its initial discovery, and no investigation seems to occur, at least no cops are glimpsed and our protagonists never face any form of interrogation. Instead, two other subplots take over: that of Kyoko coming to terms with the impending death of her mother, and Kaito's selfish displeasure at his divorced mother dating men who aren't his father. It's this imbalance between the teens' respective mommy issues that makes Still the Water such a drag.
This is the sort of material that Asian cinema, and that of Japan in particular, excels at, but the influence of Western melodrama, or rather western soap opera (much of the film feels like a Japanese remake of Aussie soap Home & Away) has sullied this particular drama. Kaito comes across as a bad rehash of a character James Dean might have essayed, rebelling without cause in a Far East of Eden, while the pseudo zen ramblings of the characters are incessantly grating and shallow. Death will take us all in the end seems to be the deepest message Still the Water has to impart. Heavy man!



discussion by