Post by Jep Gambardella on Dec 15, 2022 17:00:22 GMT
I posted this on the "Now Playing and Upcoming" board but figured it may be of interest here as well.
I didn't know about its existence until just now. Bill Nighy stars. My first reaction was "WTF, this is sacrilege", but after finding out that the screenplay is by Nobel Prize-winner Kazuo Ishiguro, I am now looking forward to it.
I loved the original. If the remake is half as good, it will be well worth watching it.
Opening in North America (well, in Canada at least) in January.
A remake of 生きる (IKIRU) with a shorter running time? That must mean it's better than the original, right? Unfortunately, while LIVING trims the fat, it's still the same odd plot structure. You see, a man (Kanji Watanabe and Rodney Williams, respectively) is told he has less than a year to live.
After he dies, his co-workers feel that a lot of questions were left unanswered and they try to figure things out. This isn't a bad concept, but each movie feels like the result of two different scripts being stitched together. The portion with the co-workers lasts about 1/3 of the running time (except for the brief epilogue). He continues to appear in flashbacks, but they're told from the co-workers' point of view. So the deceased character's mysterious behavior is treated as a puzzle that the audience has to put together alongside the living characters? But we already know the answers. Oh, well, at least this version doesn't feature a scene where the protagonist makes a request to his peers while we hear an instrumental version of "Happy Birthday". Yes, I know the song had been sang by some extras in a previous scene, but it had nothing to do with what Watanabe was doing in the present. Even if there's some hidden meaning or symbolism that's eluding me, it's a distracting choice that doesn't complement the atmosphere of the moment. It's interesting how Bill Nighy uses a lot of the same mannerisms that Takashi Shimura used, and yet, he's more convincing. What the latter did came off as overacting.
The story of a person with a serious disease who has to come to grips and re-evaluate their life is a common one in motion picture history, especially from the 1970s thru the 1990s, not to say that they are still not being produced, to wit, “The Whale.” The theme was a mainstay in 1970s made-fors. The cliché became known as the Disease Of The Week Movie.
No one has done it better than Kurosawa in “Ikiru.” It is not only the single title of this sort I can think of that is even watchable, it is also the only one that is a masterpiece of humanist art. “Living” – even if a shot-for-shot remake of “Ikiru” – will not be “Ikiru.” It will just be another weepie like all the other weepies. It may sound unreasonable of me (“How can you judge it without seeing it?!”), but I have no intention of ever going anywhere near it.
Sorry. I usually don’t get this strident, but “remaking” “Ikiru” hits a sore spot.