- Document type
- 3 April 2001
- Format viewed
- Original title
- Shinji AOYAMA
- Koji YAKUSHO
- Aoi MIYAZAKI
- Masaru MIYAZAKI
- Yohichiroh SAITOH
- Eihi SHIINA
- Running time
- 217 mins.
When two children take their daily bus ride to school, a young businessman pulls out a gun and hijacks the bus. Three executions and one police siege later, the hijacker is dead and the two children plus bus driver Makoto are the only ones to remain physically unscathed.
The trauma of the event runs deep with all three of them, having not only lived through the hijack, but also witnessed from up close the police shooting and killing the hijacker. Not surprisingly, none are able to resume their normal lives. Two years after the fact, Makoto has left his wife and is kicked out of his brother's house, while the children are left to survive on their own when their mother has run away after the death of her husband made it impossible for her to care for her troubled children.
With no place to go, Makoto decides he will put some purpose into his life by moving in with the children, who are now the only inhabitants of the family home. This is the start of a very slow and difficult process of healing.
With the above synopsis and a 217-minute running time, Eureka sounds like a heavy piece of cinematic tragedy. However, to my great delight this was not the case. Eureka is funny in many places and the characters that populate this tale have a charm which is hard to resist.
At the same time, even though the three lead characters have every right to sit sulking, life goes on and keeps throwing new events and adventures onto their paths. Makoto finds a job and starts a cautious romance with a young female colleague, the children's cousin arrives from the city to stay with them, and so on. In the end, they will have no choice but to comply and accept the beauty of the life that is around them. No matter how bad one person might feel, the good things in life remain a constant.
Simply put, Eureka is a film not so much about dealing with trauma and the aftermath of tragedy, but rather about the re-discovery of life. That the film itself combines many genres (drama, slice-of-life comedy, road movie and thriller) is very appropriate for a piece whose central theme is the multi-faceted nature of life.
Add to this the beautiful visuals (the tinted black and white images are gorgeous in themselves but are greatly enhanced by wonderful composition and editing) and great performances by the entire cast, and you get a film that even at three and a half hours plus drags for not a minute. Eureka is a sterling piece of human cinema.
label unknown (USA)
Region 1. English subtitles.
Panorama (Hong Kong)
Region 3. English, Chinese subtitles.
Xin Sheng Dai (Taiwan)
Region 0. English, Chinese subtitles.
Cinema Independent (France)
Region 2. French subtitles.