Masahiro Motoki, in 'Departures'

Dir. Yôjirô Takita
(2009, PG-13, 131 min)
★ ½

Departures is nakedly manipulative. Its director, Yôjirô Takita, doesn’t show any sensitivity to tone or character. He aims to wring tears out of us by any means necessary, underlining every emotion with a blatancy that borders on shamelessness. Not content to let a scene play out, he cues big musical swells on the soundtrack and directs his actors to over-emote. Lots of tears flow. Lots of characters give longing looks. Scenes that might have been greatly moving if handled with restraint collapse under the weight of his heavy hand. He attacks you with feelings … Read the rest of my review at