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'Eureka': A Lovely Inaction Film

By Nicole Arthur
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, May 4, 2001


    'Eureka' Koji Yakusho, Aoi Miyazaki and Masaru Miyazaki are survivors in "Eureka."
(Shooting Gallery )
You've heard of action films? Japanese writer-director Shinji Aoyama's stark, mannered "Eureka" is an inaction film – give or take a mass murder.

The movie, filmed in sepia-toned black-and-white CinemaScope, is nearly four hours long and has little dialogue, even allowing for the fact that two of its four central characters are mute. The noir-ish redemption drama tells the story of three people who survive a brutal mass killing on a city bus: driver Makoto (Koji Yakusho, best-known to U.S. audiences for "Shall We Dance?"), and school-age sister and brother Kozue (Aoi Miyazaki) and Naoki (Masaru Miyazaki). The three continue to suffer in the crime's aftermath: Makoto leaves town and drives his wife to divorce, while the children are abandoned by their mother and lose their father in a car accident.

Makoto gets a frosty reception when he returns to the family home two years later and is taken in by the orphaned children, who live alone in their parents' squalid house and have not spoken since the tragedy. The unlikely trio are joined by the children's cousin, Akihiko (Yohichiroh Saitoh), an ungainly college student, and the movie's not-a-moment-too-soon comic relief. But "Eureka's" narrative almost seems incidental; this is a film to visually savor. Its cinematography, by Masaki Tamra, is remarkable, and the film's loveliness does much to modulate its often maddening pace. In Japanese, with subtitles.

"Eureka" (Unrated, 217 minutes) – Contains stylized violence.


Copyright 2001 The Washington Post Company

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