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September 17, 2012 | by  | in Arts Film |
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Review – I Wish

Japanese bullet trains are capable of speeds up to 300km/h. Sometimes, when two of these trains pass each other in opposite directions, enough energy is released to create a temporary wishing well in their wake.

I Wish follows Koichi and Ryunosuke, two young brothers, who upon hearing this rumour embark upon a haphazard adventure to the railway tracks. Their parents’ divorce has lead younger Ryunosuke to live in northern Kyushu with their languid guitar- playing father while slightly older Koichi lives much further south with his mother’s family. Missing each other terribly and afraid of being forgotten, the two boys plot to reunite their parents by wishing on the trains.

Director Hirokazu Kore-eda illuminates childhood in Japan without becoming cloying, nostalgic or horribly cute, making this a film about the interactions of children and the mysterious adult world that is exceedingly emotionally intelligent. Although it is fundamentally a ‘growing up’ story, Kore-eda tells this subtly as the chaotic and idealistic realm of the younger characters is skilfully interwoven with the adult world of compromises and pragmatism.

The film’s insight into childlike logic is earnest and impressive, to the extent that we regret possessing the cynical knowledge that many of their dreams are impossible to achieve. However, much of their meandering and speculating we can still relate to, especially Koichi’s question ‘why did they build our school on top of a hill? I don’t get it.’

The talent of the young cast is captivating, helped by the distinctive cinematography. Stray movements are often caught within the lens of the camera, which then follows them like the eyes of a child. The attention to small details makes I Wish endlessly curious and engaging.

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