Thursday, March 5, 2009

Snow Falling on Cedars (1999) PG13 - 4 Stars

Great movie about the risks one takes at love. Set in the beautiful landscape of Washington and British Colombia, I fell in love with the young couple hopelessly hiding away their feelings for each other. But the time period would never allow their controversal affair and no matter how strong the feeling, it had to be ended.

In 1950, after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Asian American people were hurdled together and put into camps on San Piedro Island in Washington. When land owner Carl Heine (Eric Thal), is found dead in the frozen icy waters of the island, Kazuo Miyamoto (Rick Yune) who was working for him, is accused of his murder. The case is in court and Nels Gudmundsson (Max Von Sydow) is trying to defend his Kazuo's fate while Alvin Hooks (James Rebhorn), the prosecuting attorney, wants him put away.

Ishmael Chambers (Ethan Hawke) covers the proceedings and reports on the findings in the local newspaper. But it's hard for him to watch the wife of the accused, Hatsue (Youki Kudoh), suffer through the hearings, as Ishmael once was, and still is, in love with her.

As children, Ishmael and Hatsue used to secretly meet in the snow covered forest hiding in the hollow of the Cedar tree. It was forbidden for the two to have contact with each other as she was Japanese. No matter how painful to hide, Ishmael can not get her out of his mind and even today remembers their great love. Now he must struggle with the fact he could give the jury motive for the murder by exposing the fact, Kazuo was promised a portion of the land and then reneged upon by the Carl's mother, the new owners of the property.

1999 - Snow Falling on Cedars - Chicago Film Critics Association - Best Cinematography

Universal Pictures
Director: Scott Hicks
Writers: Scott Hicks, Ronald Bass
Producers: Harry Ufland, Ronald Bass, Kathleen Kennedy
I viewed 2/09

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