Shoplifters (Manbiki kazoku) Reviews
So I've been raving about this movie, but why does it only get 3 stars? Firstly, thank the spoilers. Pretty sure it would've at least been a 4/5 had I not had a hint of what was to come. And secondly, I didn't quite buy the boy trying to protect the girl from getting caught. I didn't take the danger was that great. That kinda ruined it for me, but overall still a deeply affecting and fully masterful film.
I personally feel that the last few years foreign nominations for the Oscars have been exceptionally weak.
So far this year is shaping up to be a far better experience. While I may not have the love for Roma that others do, I did feel it was a solid addition.
This was a great experience, it started a little slow but picked up and finished strong. I have a few minor concerns with it, but overall think it was something special. So many great actors!
Mostly hilarious but spirals out of control towards the end as the delicate web that the characters were brought together was slowly unraveled. The Cannes Palm D'Or recipient will definitely tug at your heartstrings.
This movie is not associated with poverty, because this is the reality for most people in the Asian countries. These people are around lower middle class, and are just able to get by with the basic needs to be satisfied with life.
Aside from that, a worth movie to watch.
Among this year's Academy Award nominees for best foreign picture, Shoplifters has plenty to compete with as well. By most accounts, Roma is a masterpiece of humanism and realism while Cold War is a smoky cool Eastern bloc romance, but outside of cinephile circles I hear a lot grumbling about how they're all boring, overlong, or unengaging. It comes as no surprise that many who appreciate the more energetic side of the movie spectrum have reacted this way, but what was a bit bothersome to me was how underwhelming Shoplifters ultimately proved to be.
Of course it impressed the Frenchies as the film is totally cine-literate. There's a fairly overt reference to the opening scene of Godard's Contempt, and what poverty-stricken family drama doesn't by definition owe a great debt to The 400 Blows? There's plenty of diffused kinetic action and deliberately avoided spectacle to boot. But aside from some smiles, a little laughter, and one particularly touching scene, I couldn't help but feel a little...well...robbed. Here I was expecting a game-changer, and all I got was a well made film. As always, I should have governed my hype better.
The film concerns a makeshift family living in a hovel somewhere in Tokyo. They are grifters, shoplifters, and of ill-repute and they all love each other very much. Each has escaped or been stolen from their real families, in a sense "shoplifted" themselves from abuse, neglect, loveless relationships, and all the negativity that can come with the responsibility and obligations of a dysfunctional family. Much of the run time is dedicated to developing the characters and understanding who they are through their actions as opposed to overtly stating traits and backstory. In this sense it is fully realized and welcomes you in to their lives as they try to get by on their schemes and street smarts. Its substance far outweighs its style, and there's no score whatsoever, which makes for a perplexing watch in my book. Unfortunately, there's just not a lot to be visually enamored with past the performances and script. I can't say I was totally sold on it, but I can respect how it accomplishes its intent. When it inevitably gets released on Criterion in the next year or two I'll still be pining for a decent Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! blu-ray.