Soberly shifting from war thriller to apocalyptic drama to oddly sentimental buddy film, “Onoda” bears the weight of its many filmic forefathers. But as it pulls off such moves with such quiet force, it also represents a different kind of emergence.
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Harari’s film is a practical, simple and saddening document of everyday madness.
This is an exciting, surprising treatment of a story many of us have heard only in half-understood whispers. Well worth settling in for.
Part John Ford, part Sam Fuller, the film’s old-fashioned approach is oddly impressive: To tell this kind of story in such blunt-edged, straightforward style is a distinctive choice when the temptation to veer into revisionist war-is-hell commentary, Malickian nature-study or Herzogian descent-into-madness bombast must have been strong.
This gripping tale of misguided patriotism recreates a vanished set of circumstances via excellent performances and well-tailored cinematic choices. While there are a few meditative lulls in this 165-minute adventure — which opens Un Certain Regard in Cannes — the proceedings are never dull and an accretion of detail leads to a memorably moving denouement.
Onoda – 10,000 Nights in the Jungle, which runs two hours and 45 minutes, is an achievement: a moving and multifaceted film about one man’s quixotic attempt at leading a meaningful life.
Here is a really well-made, old-fashioned anti-war epic in a forthright and robustly enjoyable style from director and co-writer Arthur Harari.
In the end, the movie is about a delusional guy who doesn't realize he's been indoctrinated, but it is also an emotional exploration of loyalty, camaraderie, and stubbornness.
Along the way, the director, Arthur Harari, takes the exhausted true tale of the lone Japanese soldier and sculpts it into a captivating tragicomedy, a sharp-eyed study of zealotry and self-delusion, ridiculous and heartbreaking in about equal measure.