DVD Tokyo Sonata [DVD] (DVD 6316729),
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Tokyo Sonata [DVD]
Region 1 USA/CA (
Best known in the United States for bizarre and unsettling horror films like PULSE and CURE, Kiyoshi Kurosawa ventures away from that category with TOKYO SONATA. Of course, Kurosawa is incapable of directing a straightforward picture, and TOKYO SONATA is no exception. Retaining the same masterful control over mood and atmosphere that he has displayed throughout his career, Kurosawa infuses this family drama with an underlying tension that permeates the film even during its most humorous moments. The story concerns a Japanese businessman, husband, and father of two, who unexpectedly loses his job. Unable to break the news to his devoted wife, he dresses up every morning and pretends to go to work, instead wasting the days away with a former classmate who is also unemployed. Although they aren't aware of his contradictory behavior, his family begins to disobey him nonetheless. His teenage son enlists in the Army in order to fight for the United States, while his adolescent son goes behind his back to take piano lessons. The longer his charade goes on, the less control he has as patriarch, creating an even deeper divide between him and his family. With TOKYO SONATA, Kurosawa has produced one of his most original and accomplished works. Equal parts social commentary and situational comedy, Kurosawa's film also feels like a thriller, thanks to the exceptionally atmospheric work from cinematographer Akiko Ashizawa and composer Kazumasa Hashimoto.
Kai Inowaki, Yu Koyanagi, Haruka Igawa, Kyoko Koizumi, Teruyuki Kagawa
3 stars out of 5 -- "J-horror maestro Kiyoshi Kurosawa turns losing face into a living nightmare in this disconcerting saga..."
4 stars out of 5 -- "Coming on like a reworking of Laurence Cantet's TIME OUT....The satire on Japanese obsessions hits home."
"[T]here is more than a touch of horror to its story of a salaryman whose downsizing sets off a series of cataclysmic events."
New York Times
4 stars out of 5 -- "TOKYO SONATA probes Japanese society with an incisiveness and lucidity that renders it all the more relevant and universal....[With] striking cinematography, a spare script and naturalistic performances..."
"[I]nventive Japanese filmmaker Kiyoshi Kurosawa finds just the right melancholy tone to suit a new and all to familiar kind of horror: economic downsizing." -- Grade: A-
"TOKYO SONATA is bold, acutely observant and universal in its wide-ranging concerns and implications....So strong a director is Kurosawa that he not only can get away with piling on disasters but makes his picture all the more powerful as a result."
Los Angeles Times
3.5 stars out of 5 -- "All of the performances have perfect pitch; the young son engages us in the same way as the hero of Truffaut's THE 400 BLOWS."
Included in Chicago Sun-Times's "The Best Foreign Films Of 2009" -- "[Kurosawa] derails our expectations with two totally unexpected scenes..."
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