Film Review – Destiny: The Tale of Kamakura

Whilst Japan has a rigid social and ultra-conservative society, it’s a country with a long, unusual and complex history of myths and legends. Shinto is one of the oldest continually practiced religions in the world and an odd one for Western sensibilities. One of the most unusual aspects of the Japanese psyche is a belief in folklore, spirits and ghosts. These notions find echoes in most aspects of the culture. Takashi Yamazaki’s new film Destiny: The Tale of Kamakura mixes mystery, romantic comedy and fantasy to produce a hugely entertaining film.

After marrying his beautiful young bride Akiko (Mitsuki Takahata), mystery author Masakazu Isshiki (Masato Sakai) takes her to his hometown to begin their new life together. She’s in for a shock though as Kamakura is no ordinary place. Steeped in legend and a special energy, it’s a town where humans and creatures live in harmony. However, something is not quite right. ‘Mister’ must face up to his greatest challenge yet if he’s to solve a murder and rescue his love.

Destiny: The Tale of Kamakura is a joyous journey down the rabbit-hole of Ryôhei Saigan’s popular Manga. There are so many threads to the story that at times it’s hard to keep track of precisely what’s going on but it all comes together beautifully. It looks incredible and the special effects are top-notch. Both Takahata and Sakai are extremely likeable and their charisma shines through on screen. Destiny: The Tale of Kamakura is a great fantasy adventure with a soft centre.

Destiny: The Tale of Kamakura screens at venues across the UK in February and March as part of The Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme.

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