Moderator / Reviewer
- Apr 4, 2017
My AV System
- Preamp, Processor or Receiver
- Yamaha TRS-7850 Atmos Receiver
- Other Amp
- Peavy IPR 3000 for subs
- Universal / Blu-ray / CD Player
- Sony ubx800 4K UHD Player
- Front Speakers
- Cheap Thrills Mains
- Center Channel Speaker
- Cheap Thrills Center
- Surround Speakers
- Volt 10 Surrounds
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- Rear Height Speakers
- Volt 6 Overheads
- 2x Marty subs (full size with SI 18's)
- Video Display Device
- JVC RS-46 Projector
- Draper Cineperm M1300 119 inch Static Screen
America has always had it’s black spots against it’s shining record for being one of the best nations in the modern western world. We’ve had slavery, we’ve had issue of monopolies crushing the backs of workers, we’ve had our issues with civil rights, and even our glorious wars haven’t been PERFECT. One of the least talked about stains on our past is the trampling of Japanese American’s rights after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. After that moment congress passed an initiative to round up Japanese Americans and put the min “internment camps” temporarily to make sure that none of them were actively working with the Japanese military. But lets not kid ourselves, these were in fact prison camps where people of Japanese ancestry were held, many (if not most) of them with no charges or crimes against them to keep them there. Just the simple fact that they were Japanese and we were at war with their people. Sadly this created a massive rift amount Americans, as the anti-Japanese rhetoric was built up over years of war, and most certainly didn’t go away when the war ended and the people who were imprisoned were set free.
Snow Falling on Cedars easily could have been your typical story about a homicide investigation in the northwest, but like many good books (the original 1994 novel was penned by David Guterson before being translated 5 years later to a screenplay), Guterson decided to dig deeper and make it more expansive. The movie starts out post WWII with the body of local fisherman Carl Heine (Eric Thal) washing up on the San Pedro, Washington, shores with only one person having seen him last. This person just so happens to now be at the heart of a homicide investigation, and to make matters worse he is also a Japanese American during the height of anti-Japanese sentiment America. Kabuo Miyomoto (Rick Yune) swears his innocence, but he’s not exactly thought of very highly and it’s a near slam dunk case to put him away (or get the death sentence) for his “crimes”.
Snow Falling on Cedars is an incredible film, and actually the first major motion picture by director Scott Hicks. Most people remember hicks for directing Hearts of Atlantis and Nicolas Sparks The Lucky One, but this was the burgeoning Aussie film director’s first attempt at motion picture, and EASILY his best works. Hearts of Atlantis is the movie that most people remember him for, but Snow Falling on Cedars is by far his most intelligent and well done flick to date. It’s poignant, and sticks really well to the original novel, and even the deviations are only slight, and fits really well into the whole plot of things. The movie itself is multilayered, with a triple plot story going on under all this. On the surface it’s your typical murder investigation and court room trial, but under it all is an emotional story love lost, and a scathing criticism about what we actually did to CREATE more than our share of consternation between native born Americans and Japanese Immigrants.
Things are handled delicately, but no punches are pulled either. The story is grim and sad, but Hicks makes sure that everything is evenly distributed, so that both sides of the story are told, allowing us to empathize with people on both sides of the proverbial aisle. Not to mention that director Scott Hicks has heavily graded this film to the point of almost being black and white, only allowing splashes of color to seep through, and mostly in the shades of blue and white (usually together as snow falls). It’s a stunning film visually, and just as great as a very rewarding slow burn drama as well.
Rated PG-13 for disturbing images, sensuality and brief strong language
• NEW "Accident Rules" – A look back at the film; including brand-new interviews with Director/Co-Writer Scott Hicks, Novelist David Guterson, Director of Photography Robert Richardson, and Composer James Newton Howard.
• NEW "A Fresh Snow" – A look at the restoration of the film with Robert Richardson.
• Audio Commentary with Scott Hicks
• Spotlight on Location
• Deleted Scenes
• Theatrical Trailer
Snow Falling on Cedars is an incredibly nuanced and multi layered film that really benefits from multiple watches. It’s emotionally gripping without being manipulative and stereotypical, and creates a myriad of well defined characters who really grow and adapt throughout the film’s run time. If I had to put Scott Hick’s works on a hierarchy pyramid, I would probably have this one at the top of the heap, and by a fairly large margin. Hicks was a bit too emotionally manipulative with Hearts of Atlantis, and sadly lost his way in the post 2000’s era, but this still stands out as the highlight of his career, and made a fantastic movie out of a turbulent black spot on our past without alienating people of both sides of the argument. The Blu-ray from shout Factory is fantastic, giving us a nice heavy duty slipcover (it seems to be more dense and thicker than others I’ve seen), and the audio/video mix is simply superb. Extras are fairly copious as well, leaving me no choice but to give this release a VERY hearty two thumbs up.
Starring: Ethan Hawke, Max Von Sydow, Yuki Kudo, Reeve Carney, Anne Suzuki, Rick Yune, James Rebhorn
Directed by: Scott Hicks
Written by: Ronald Bass, Scott Hicks (Screenplay), David Guterson (Novel)
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH,
Studio: Shout Factory
Runtime: 128 minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: November 5th, 2019
Recommendation: Great Buy