After The Storm centres around unrepetentant gambler Ryôta Shinoda (Hiroshi Abe), who’s obviously short of money, but doesn’t want to lose too much else now that his father has passed away, and he’s becoming increasingly distant from his son, while his ex-wife is very dismissive of him, given how often the odds are against him.
Early on, as he spends time with his mother, Yoshiko (Kirin Kiki – Sweet Bean), going through his father’s stuff, eating frozen solid ice cream, wanting to find his father’s authentic Sesshu scroll, and telling her she should get out more, to which she replies, “New friends at my age only mean more funerals(!)”, I was really enjoyed this, but after a while it does go a little bit flat as the film stalls and you’re waiting for the main plot to kick in more.
Ryôta works as a private investigator, but is also a budding novelist, who wants to see his son, Shingo, but his ex is about to marry another man, which seemingly means he won’t be able to see him any more, even though that wouldn’t be the case in the UK, so I don’t quite get this.
This is a slice-of-life drama about a man who wants to rekindle his love with his frosty ex-wife, even though she’s clearly quite a cow to deal with. It also deals with not quite achieving what you want to in life, and we’ve all been there. However, when they’re all trapped at his mother’s house overnight due to the typhoon, it gets in a rather navel-gazing state for way too long.
After the Storm was, to me at least, both metaphorically so-called because of his father’s death and his collapsing marriage, and in his reality, in the aftermath of a typhoon which takes place during the second half of the film.
Until it was mentioned in the extras, I didn’t realise that Hiroshi Abe and Kirin Kiki had previously played son and mother in the director’s 2008 film, Still Walking, with the son called Ryota in both, and it’s explained that he sees this as a companion piece to that and not a sequel. I haven’t seen that one, but in Like Father, Like Son, the lead male character is also called Ryota – albeit played by a different actor, and it also stars Kirin Kiki.
That said, in watching the three movies in this trilogy, I’ve realised how much Koreeda likes to use the same actors in a number of his movies, which is fair enough to do. For a Hollywood example, you can see how Peter Berg likes to cast Mark Wahlberg a lot as the lead, as he did in Lone Survivor, Deepwater Horizon and Patriots’ Day, all of which were fantastic films.
(click on the image for the full-size version)
The film is presented in the original 1.85:1 widescreen ratio and in 1080p high definition, but unlike the first two in the boxset, the picture in this one is a lot sharper, and would make you think it was shot on digital film, even though Koreeda clearly likes shooting on on 35mm.
The audio options include a DTS HD-MA 5.1 soundtrack as well as a 2.0 surround sound one, but while I chose the former, there’s again, nothing of note that stood out for me. Perhaps, a bit of traffic at the start, but that was it.
The extras are as follows, and there aren’t quite as much as with the first two films, but there’s still a lot to get stuck into, and the ones for this film are:
- Family Ties Part 3 (15:35): A brand new interview about this film with director Hirokazu Koreeda, filmed at the BFI London Film Festival in 2016.
- The Making Of After The Storm (73:08): Another long piece about the movie, this contains 9 chapters. All the dialogue and voiceover is translated into English subtitles, but there is a lot of occasional onscreen text which is left in unsubtitled Japanese, which doesn’t really help.
- Roll Numbers (5:22): A compilation of clapper takes featuring the cast and crew, set to the theme song.
- The Making Of The Theme Song Music Video (7:51): We get to see the making of the music video, but… oddly, not the music video itself!
- Theatrical Trailer: (1:40), in its original 1.85:1 widescreen ratio.
This is just the extras on the disc, but the boxset also contains reversible sleeves featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Corey Brickley, for each film, plus a 60-page Collector’s book featuring new writing on all three films.
The main menu features a short piece of the score set to clips from the film, there’s a bog-standard 12 chapters and subtitles are in English and in this case, they can be turned off, in case you can speak fluent Japanese.
After The Storm is part of the Hirokazu Koreeda Family Values Boxset and is out now on Blu-ray/DVD combo boxset, and check out the full-size cover by clicking on the packshot. The boxset contains I Wish, Like Father Like Son and After The Storm.
Running time: 118 mins
Distributor: Arrow Films
Released: February 19th 2018
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, DTS-HD 2.0 Master Audio
Widescreen: 1.85:1 (35 mm)
Disc Format: BD50 and DVD9
Director: Hirokazu Koreeda
Producers: Tsugihiko Fujiwara, Takashi Ishihara, Kazumi Kawashiro, Kaoru Matsuzaki, Hijiri Taguchi, Tom Yoda and Akihiko Yose
Screenplay: Hirokazu Koreeda
Ryôta Shinoda: Hiroshi Abe
Kyôko: Shiraishi: Maki Yôko
Nakashima Chinatsu: Satomi Kobayashi
Ryôta’s colleague: Frankie Lily
Machida Kento: Ikematsu Sôsuke
Shingo Shiraishi: Yoshizawa Taiyô
Yoshiko Shinoda: Kirin Kiki
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.