Review of Monster, the new dramatic film by Japanese director Hirokazu Koreeda, winner of Best Screenplay at the last Cannes Festival. Premieres September 29.
Koreeda returns to her origins and, in the process, focuses on one of the thematic axes that she has worked on best throughout her career: the family. She rolled Monster secretly in Japan, after having located his last two jobs in France and South Korea (Broker). And this is something that suits the film very well because in it there is also a very powerful denunciation of certain social stigmas.
Monster It is divided into three large blocks that show the same story from three very different lenses. Only in the end is the viewer able to complete the puzzle and interpret what he has seen as he sees fit.
The idea that beats in the background is the lack of humanity: that “monster” that the title advances and that we are not able to locate at first except through prejudices.
In this film all the characters keep big secrets, their own and those of others, which will make us end up understanding that perhaps the problem is neither of them, but rather the need to give someone that label.
It all starts one night when a building starts burning. A single mother and her son wonder what could have happened. The boy has been acting somewhat distracted lately, which ends up worrying her mother, who decides to go to school to see what’s going on.
Upon investigating, he discovers that a teacher may be behind what is happening and demands responsibility from the school, which seems determined to turn a blind eye. The director’s behavior does not seem exactly exemplary either, which both angers and worries her to the extent that she feels that her son may be in danger.
However, as we discover what is really happening, the truth comes to light: the perspectives of the teacher and the child are very different, but they all lead to an event that will change everything forever.
Koreeda gives a true recital of sensitivity by highlighting several realities that overlap each other: each character understands the situation through the information they have and the experiences they have had, but always keeping in mind that the world of children is cryptic for everyone. Only they have the key to the story.
That same sensitivity to portray how their personalities, their relationship and conflicts with the environment are forged, is shown through the photography of Ryûto Kondô, which provides almost pictorial textures to the most intimate passages. He manages to create spaces full of meaning in which the souls of the protagonists seem to palpitate.
Outside of what is socially accepted
Monster It won the award for Best Screenplay at the last Cannes Festival because one of the great attractions of the film is the work of Yûji Sakamoto. We have already talked about its structure, but inside there is something much more valuable, such as the development of the characters, especially the children, in the process of self-discovery.
In the same way, the work of the recently deceased composer Ryuichi Sakamoto must be praised, but if there is something that is worthy of being applauded, it is the work of the two protagonist children: Soya Kurokawa and Hinata Hiiragi.
It’s not just that they are two extremely photogenic children who go well together, but they also have a prodigious ability to convey emotions: the audience will immediately feel concerned by their story while understanding all the whys and wherefores in a fantastic ending that not only gives meaning to everything but breaks your heart in two while being beautiful.
It must be taken into account that throughout the 126-minute duration of the film there are some slowdowns in pace and also cuts in the editing that leave us on the verge of revealing certain mysteries, which makes the narration sometimes difficult. a little confusing, even if it is premeditated.
With everything and with that, there are many more lights than shadows in a project that resonates in memory and returns us to an inspired filmmaker.
With exquisite sensitivity, Koreeda shows how difficult it is to understand the world of children from the perspective of adults.
The delicacy with which the story is told from different perspectives, the poetic ending and how well directed the children are.
The editing leaves some loose edges, aspects of the characters that we do not fully understand.