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Ethan Hawke stars in this "riveting tale of mystery" (FOX-TV) based on the award-winning best-selling novel. A murder trial has upset the quiet community of San Piedro, and now this tranquil village has become the center of controversy. For Ishamael Chambers (Hawke), a local reporter, the trial strikes a deep emotional chord when he finds his ex-lover is linked to the case. As he investigates the killing, he uncovers some startling clues that lead him to a shocking discovery. Co-starring James Cromwell, Sam Shepard and Max Von Sydow, Snow Falling on Cedars is "hypnotic, mesmerizing and inspiring" (ABC-TV).
Australian director Scott Hicks's follow-up to his widely beloved Shine comes as a small shock. Based on David Guterson's bestselling novel, Snow Falling on Cedars is far removed from the character-driven, pure storytelling of Shine and a comparative plunge into moody atmospherics. Action insinuates itself through the director's determined eye for watercolor composition and free-floating perspective, like random shoots of new growth in an overwhelming rain forest. It's impossible to be complacent as a viewer because Hicks's meditative style paradoxically forces one to locate and make the story happen internally.
The approach makes good aesthetic sense in that Guterson's story couches courtroom drama in dreamy textures, and Hicks is determined to reflect that even if it means turning an audience's idea of narrative on its head. He also gets a lot of help from the weather in the Pacific Northwest: the setting is one of Washington State's San Juan Islands, where rain embraces earth and sky in a singular, introverted personality. There, a Japanese American war hero (Rick Yune) stands accused of murdering a white fisherman in the years following World War II. His wife (Youki Kudoh) is the former childhood sweetheart and lover of a local newspaperman (Ethan Hawke) whose bitterness over the loss--as well as his helplessness during the internment of Japanese Americans, and the crusading legacy of his journalist father (Sam Shepard)--prevents him from coming to the defense of the accused man.
Layered emotions, layered sensations, layered clouds. This is historical fiction of a sort that works best as an experience of time's relativity: flowing, stopping, trickling. Ironically, the film's most commercial element, the trial, is the least interesting aspect, though old pro Max Von Sydow makes those scenes great fun as a wily defense counsel. --Tom Keogh
Evokes and maintains a nice Pacific NW mood throughout the movie. Great cast, good acting, great lighting.Published 19 days ago by J Lynn Davis MD
This is a great movie! Very heartfelt and a great mystery as well.Published 1 month ago by Debra L Boshell
A BOOK THAT TOOK TEN YEARS TO WRITE AND ONE OF AMERICA'S FINEST. YOU WORLD THINK A MOVIE COULD NEVER DO IT JUSTICE. BUT THIS DVD PROVIDES AN EXCELLENT RENDITION OF THE IMPOSSIBLE. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
Good story, stayed true to the historical past and Japanese culture. All the main characters had great acting scenes and were believable. Read morePublished 2 months ago by B. Lee
I rented this to watch over Spring Break instead of reading the book for my AP Literature class. This movie was surprisingly great, and it kind of makes me wish I had actually... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Skylar DeWitt
I saw it twice, both times with friends, and it is set in this beautiful northwest, so there is nothing not to like. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Patricia L. Doemland
It's beautiful. It plods along, but it's worth it for the cinematography. I would respect it more if it gave us more history, but it's a lovely movie.Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer