After the Storm is the most recent family drama from Japan’s leading storyteller, Hirokazu Koreeda. It features a sparkling plot about family and failure, reality and reconciliation.
Ryota Shinoda (Hiroshi Abe) used to be an award-winning author; now he’s a private detective, and he gambles away any money he earns. He spends his days as a detective spying on others, and living in constant denial that he has problems. “I’m the great talent that blooms late” he tells his mother.
Ryota is divorced. His ex-wife has custody of their son because he is unable to pay child support. Despite Ryota’s former ambitions, he is no longer a role model to anyone, least of all his own son.
His life and family seem irrevocably broken. but when a typhoon hits Tokyo, and his ex and son are forced to stay at his mother’s home, Ryota is forced to re-evaluate his life.
The uncomplicated, melancholy plot keeps the audience eagerly awaiting a happy ever after; but the focus is more on the question of purpose in life.
The movie doesn’t use – and doesn’t need – any high-tech effects. Its strength is in capturing the beauty of everyday life through a series of quiet moments and one-on-one conversations.