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Snow Falling on Cedars

reviewed by Vivian Rose, age 14, from US

Although Ethan Hawke is a terrific actor, "Snow Falling on Cedars" remains dull.

Hawke plays Ishmael Chambers, a newspaper reporter who has quite the personal interest in his latest story: the murder trial of his former sweetheart's husband.

Ishmael and Hatsue (Youki Kudoh) had a hot romance going when they were teenagers. This included having sex inside a big Cedar tree - apparently it was the only place they had any privacy. (When Hatsue later gets married to Kazuo Miyamoto, a Japanese man- they spend their honeymoon night in the same room with her family - so much for privacy! ) The relationship between Ishmael and Hatsue didn't work out because Hatsue was Japanese and her family didn't want her to get involved with Ishmael, not to mention the Japanese just bombed Pearl Harbor, and World War II was going strong. She had no choice but to kiss him off.

A decade or so later, a local fisherman drowns suspiciously and Kazuo is the main suspect. Much as he still resents Hatsue for dumping him, Ishmael investigates the murder in an attempt to help Kazuo get off the hook.

Here's what I thought - Ishmael murdered the fisherman, framing Kazuo, so he'd go to jail. Once Kazuo was conveniently out of the way, Ishmael - who after all those years was still obsessed with Hatsue- would get her back.

Unfortunately, it didn't end that way. The ending was bland and predictable. (Personally, I think mine was a lot better - I should have written this script.)

While I'm rewriting this movie, I'd change a few other things - I'd add more humor (Heaven knows this movie is screaming for comic relief), confuse the plot a little more, and make the background music much more exciting. (Either the soundtrack or the plot or the combination of both nearly put me to sleep.)

Rating : PG-13 for disturbing images, sensuality and brief strong language.

Discuss "Snow Falling on Cedars" or Vivian's review in Cyberkids Connection.

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