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Rising Sun

Posted by admin | Posted in Movies | Posted on 09-09-2010


A Los Angeles special liaison officer (Wesley Snipes) is called in to investigate the murder of a call-girl in the boardroom of a Japanese corporation. Accompanied by a detective with unusual knowledge of the Japanese culture (Sean Connery), the two men must unravel the mystery behind the murder by entering an underground “shadow world” of futuristic technology, ancient ways and confusing loyalties.Amazon.com
Author Michael Crichton and director Philip Kaufman had… More >>

Rising Sun

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Comments (5)

Michael Crichton’s RISING SUN (and that’s both movie and book) is sheer brilliance. Unfortunately for the average American moviegoer, this is a flick too loaded with subtleties and hidden clues to appeal to someone who’s used to more explosions, shootouts, and decisive final confrontations. You must pay close attention to every line of dialogue in order to keep up, and in this the average viewer is going to lose interest. Which is a pity, as you are kept guessing throughout –it’s presented in such a way as to enable you to see the point of view of almost every character. Snipes and Connery work extremely well off each other, Harvey Keitel plods through his usual role, Cary Tagawa shines as the unfortunate fall guy stuck between East and West, Tia Carrere proves that she’s MUCH more than mere ‘Wayne’s World’ eye candy, and the film’s few deviations from the novel do not detract from the suspense –they actually help to keep the plot moving.

Don’t believe the reviews –this movie is most emphatically NOT racist Japan-bashing; in fact such a reaction is even anticipated within the narrative. An excellent treatise on the mindset of the Japanese corporate and how ill-equipped American culture/politics is in dealing with it. Not overly violent, but there is a considerable amount of sensuality and a disturbing murder scene that, of necessity, is replayed over and over throughout the film –definitely not for children.
Rating: 5 / 5

This “Blu-ray” version is excellent. The video portion is much smoother and the audio is “far superior” to the regular DVD. One has to appreciate that this movie was initially released on VHS and the regular DVD of it was not much of an improvement. This blu-ray takes care of all the VHS flaws of the origional DVD release.
Rating: 5 / 5

Like Michael Crichton’s book on which this movie is based, “Rising Sun” hasn’t aged well. That has nothing to do with the artistic effort itself, but is due rather to the reality of the post-bubble stupor of Japan over the last 12+ years vs. the hegemonic, ruthless superpower depicted in both book and film. Despite this disparity, “Sun” is worth seeing if for no other reason than to appreciate director Philip Kaufman’s ability to stamp his own imprint on Crichton’s tale.

As noted elsewhere on this page, Crichton and Kaufman had a famous falling out over Kaufman’s efforts to bring “Sun” to the screen. In the recently re-released novel of “The Manchurian Candidate,” Louis Menard wrote an introduction discussing John Frankenheimer’s movie adaptation of that novel. Noting the criticism that Richard Condon’s book seemed to read like a movie, he pointed out that current fiction masters like Michael Crichton “all but provide camera angles” in their works.

That may be true, but I credit Kaufman for bringing a lot of creativity and vision into the translation from print to screen. And it happens right from the start – it’s a brilliant beginning to the film…you think you’ve stumbled into a Western, then via a very measured transition and pull-back, you release you’re deep into a scene of Japanese sub-culture with tortured karaoke in a small watering hole.

That’s great movie-making. Philip Kaufman wrote or adapted for the screen such classics as ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark,’ ‘The Right Stuff’ and ‘The Outlaw Josey Wales.’ This guy knows movies and how to stage a story. Crichton’s criticism makes Kaufman’s work all the more intriguing. Each work stands on its own merits. Even fans of the book can appreciate a movie that surpasses a simple shot-by-shot, by-the-numbers approach.
Rating: 4 / 5

There’s no question that the novel upon which this movie is based is infinitely more complex and subtle. That being said — when isn’t that true in a comparison between paper and film?

Moving on to the film itself… the story is ostensibly about a young woman found murdered in a Japanese corporation’s hq during a major gala. This main plot intersects with the secondary plot about this same corporation’s controversial impending buy-out of a major American chip manufacturing company, thus potentially putting American secrets into Japanese hands.

What the movie is really about, of course, is the buy-out of an impoverished, corrupt, lazy, disorganized, and short-sighted America by the evil, manipulative, unfeeling, unsportsmanlike, and well, un-American, Japanese. There’s no question that the anti-Japanese tone of Crighton’s novel is carried directly to the screen.

That being said, this is a fairly interesting murder mystery, with lots of good red herrings and complex strategy involved in solving the case. It also has some interesting predictive scenes about the easy manipulation of video technology — cutting edge in 1993, but commonplace now.

Sean Connery is his smooth, masterful self in this movie, and Wesley Snipes, while not given much to do except react in bafflement to both the Japanese and his new mentor, does the best he can.

The film is a bit long, but a perfectly satisfactory rental, esp. if you like Connery or Snipes.
Rating: 3 / 5

This was a very interesting movie, though I found myself liking it for reasons other than what I had expected. I have read most of Michael C.’s books, but thought I’d short cut this one and just see the movie. I found myself very pleasantly surprised, even though the movie apparently was a very loose translation.

In terms of accuracy to Japanese culture, the movie does an admirable job of capturing 1980s Japan, as well as American paranoia surrounding it. If you accept the characters bias as irony, the movie does very well – at least as solid as Lost in Translation in capturing truth amongst the stereotypes.

The plot was interesting as well. There were enough twists and turns to keep one interested, and it’s hard to figure out “Whoodunit?” until the last 20 minutes of the movie. Even with that, there’s still some lingering uncertainty at the end. It’s a movie that actually makes you think.

In the end I enjoyed the movie, an am convinced I need to read the book as well. It’s a rare movie that does that.
Rating: 5 / 5

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