Let's not dance around words like "thought provoking" "insightful", "existential" - Okuribito isn't your typical arty-farty movie with beautiful scenes, cryptic monologues and hidden meanings; it has a certain quality that makes it a joy to watch: it's accessible.
That's right - no more staring at the screen wondering what the protagonist standing in his underpants in front of a mirror to the sound of clockwork means. Hooray!
Without spoiling anything, Okuribito touches on topics most of us can relate to: family, relationships, homosexuality, unemployment, and of course the looming, dread realization of mortality. There's a healthy dose of self-deprecating comedy, extremely colorful characters, and incredible acting. All this without cheesy b-rate lines and still managing to NOT be depressing.
I say depressing, because it can at times get very, very emotional - from sad, to heartwarming, to endearing. It's emotional enough to make you cry. Sometime's it's emotional enough to make you cry while smiling.
But story is one thing, cinematography is another, and the movie as a whole is wonderfully directed and beautifully shot. We see everything from a Japanese cityscape to a charming countryside filled with rolling hills and swaying plants in all four seasons - backed up by an addictive soundtrack that tells the story on it's own.
Okuribito finds the right balance between arthouse film and feel-good-heartwarming disney. It's not mindless. It does have plot. It wont make you apathetic.
And besides, it has an octopus in it. More than enough reason, really.
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