"The Role of Dads"
A Review of "After the Storm" by Nathan H. Box
Director: Hirokazu Koreeda, Writer: Hirokazu Koreeda, Starring: Hiroshi Abe, Yoko Maki, Satomi Kobayashi
Rating: 2 Stars, SKIP!
For my 5th film of the 43rd Annual Seattle International Film Festival, I decided to treat myself to a Japanese film about the role of dad's in the lives of their children. I have often heard the phrase, "Anyone can father a child but it takes a man to be a dad." If I remember correctly, I first heard this quote in a television commercial sponsored by the Ad Council. Considering who was behind the ad, some would excuse it as corny on merit alone. As a byproduct of divorce and someone who was raised by his stepdad, I would argue that I have rarely heard a statement containing more truth.
"After the Storm" focuses itself on Shinoda who has recently lost his father. As the pain of this loss begins to weigh on him, his marriage falls apart, the distance between his own son grows, his second novel gets further from its deadline, and his gambling addiction becomes more prevalent. Each one of these situations could provide their own level of drama. Inside of one family, they should be a powder keg of emotion. For me, where this film fails is its ability to make an emotional connection with the audience. It doesn't use any of these challenges very effectively.
There are brief moments when we can sense Shinoda attempting to close the gap with his son but they too feel haphazard because of the baggage he possesses. In the end, there isn't much to this film. It features a few moments where you can see a family working to overcome the challenges that come with divorce. Beyond that, there is no lasting moment. There is no moment to impress upon the audience a need for the role of men in the lives of their children.
Be good to each other,