Whilst modern Japan might be a country known for its work ethic and bizarre sub-cultures, it has always maintained a staunch emphasis on family. Yasujirō Ozu, whose specialised in quiet family dramas, was one of the greatest directors of his generation. In a similar vein, Hirokazu Koreeda’s work focusses on inter-generational connections. Following-on from the award-winning Like Father, Like Son and Our Little Sister, his new film After the Storm is a spellbinding treatise on the human condition.
A former prize-winning author, Ryota (Hiroshi Abe) now spreads his time between working as a private detective and gambling those earnings away. Struggling to pay child-support, his ex-wife Kyoko (Yoko Maki) is threatening to cut his contact with his son Shingo (Taiyo Yoshizawa). As Ryota begins to try and tackle his failure as a family man, a storm throws them together at his mother’s (Kirin Kiki) house; affording him the opportunity to begin to make amends.
After the Storm is consummate filmmaking. Koreeda is in his element, taking a pivotal moment in Ryota’s life and quietly unravelling the drama. The cast are absolutely superb, especially Hiroshi Abe and Yoko Maki. Their performances ooze authenticity. Koreeda slowly reels you in through small gestures and portentous silences. After the Storm thrives on its simplicity. A beautiful and captivating piece of modern storytelling.
After the Storm is in cinemas from Friday.