Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Just watched: Departing Osaka Station at 0:00

There’s a train that leaves Osaka station at midnight to an unknown destination. Among the passengers on this train are several people using this trip as a means to escape. Either they're unlucky in love, or suicidal or dissatisfied with their life, the main characters in this film all start their journey pessimistic and bitter. Will they find what they’re looking for at the end of the line?

Of course they do. It’s a stupid question, really. Even early on, this film starts to fall into the usual feel-good clichés. One woman meets a local doctor by chance and takes an instant dislike to him. This inevitably turns into something romantic. And it’s no surprise to see how the simple country life has an effect on the jaded city types.

The film (released in 2006) contains several short stories told at the same time. The basic concept – of a train journey – is a nice way of getting together several people who normally would never meet which means some interesting relationships begin. On the downside, the stories are a bit disjointed, as if each character is taking it in turns to tell their story.

The moral is that life would probably be more fulfilling if you stopped to smell the flowers once in a while. And the director is certainly true to that, as this film glides serenely to its happy conclusion. It’s nice, but unremarkable.

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