Black Rain

Directors - Shohei Imamura

Cast - Etsuki Ichihara, Keisuke Ishida

Country of Origin - Japan

Discs -1

MSRP - $24.98

Distributor - Animeigo

Reviewer - Ryan Miller

 

   Black Rain Review

 

     If you survived the end of the world, what would you do next? On August 6th, 1945, approximately 80,000 people died when a nuclear bomb named "Little Boy" was dropped on the city of Hiroshima. No one had any idea what had happened, and now it was time for the unlucky survivors to live what little of the rest of their lives remained dying of radiation poisoning. Most painfully, I'll add. This is the story of Black Rain, or Kuroi ame.
     The film itself opens to show several locations around the area with people going about their business, unaware of the circumstances about to unfold over the city's population. With a devastating roar, everything goes to Hell and life will never be the same for the entire population. The lucky ones don't survive the initial blast. The ones that do have an ordeal ahead of them.
     The story that follows is a powerful one about villagers who managed to escape with their lives. It centers mostly around Yasuko, a charming young girl, and her uncle, a wise gentleman named Shigematsu Shizuma. When the bomb went off, Shizuma was smack in the middle, lucky to be alive, while Yasuko was away from the blast though still felt the presence of the black rain that fell from the sky. Their trials after the bomb drops ranges from trivial to deadly for these two protagonists as everyone around them slowly goes mad and dies of radiation poisoning. If you were to say the film is a little unsettling, you'd be a little correct.
     After the explosion, the antagonist seems to be Japanese society, as everyone untouched by the black rain thumb their noses at the survivors like they're second citizens. While beautiful Yasuko is aiming to find a husband, she is time and time again thwarted be rumors of her inability to bear children. This becomes her curse. Shigematsu Shizuma has a different path and has made it his duty to assist Yasuko in finding a husband while living everyday with the sickness himself.
     Black Rain, though released in the late 80s, a time of absurd color films, was done entirely in black and white which only seems to make the story that much more of an emotional roller coaster. It makes the film seems much closer to the source, and honestly I never realized it was the case until I spotted Takashi Miike on the DVD box. This altogether baffled me, then enthralled me. I was seriously pleased by this knowledge.
   Another fine aspect of the film is the pacing. While the pacing is a little slow at points, it's still beneficial to the poignant storytelling. I am altogether pleased with the presentation of the film right down to the cover. Black Rain, in a similar fashion with The Loyal 47 Ronin, is not for everyone. It's a very difficult story to enjoy, furthermore, unless you have the attention span, I wouldn't bother. The film is hard to watch and sheds new light on what the close knit group of survivors might have felt like after the bomb. If you have the tenacity I recommend it highly. If not, maybe you should stay home and color. Inside the lines this time, please.

Rating 4/5