Film review: The Mohican Comes Home – dramedy about father and son plays off conventional Japanese cinema tropes
Story of a struggling punk rock musician returning to his home town to care for his ailing father has plenty of charms, but is ultimately another by-the-book Japanese family drama
Almost as ubiquitous as stories about provincial country life, or tales of strained relationships between parents and their children, Japanese cinema is awash with the misadventures of struggling young musicians. In The Mohican Comes Home, all three scenarios combine in wistful yet winning fashion, as impoverished punk rocker Eikichi (Ryuhei Matsuda) travels home to Tobi Island near Hiroshima, following a lengthy absence.
With pregnant girlfriend Yuka (Atsuko Maeda) in tow, Eikichi hopes to borrow money for their wedding, which only puts further strain on his already delicate relationship with his elderly father Osamu (Akira Emoto). A lifelong fan of “Hiroshima’s Elvis” Eikichi Yazawa, Osamu is passionate about music, and coaches the local school’s brass band, but cannot abide his son’s love of punk. When he unexpectedly collapses with late-stage cancer, Eikichi and Yuka are forced to stay in Tobi and help out.
Scripted and directed by Shuichi Okita ( A Story of Yonosuke ), The Mohican Comes Home plays out in a familiar tone and rhythm commonplace among Japanese films of this style and budget. Tight plotting and pacy action take a back-seat in favour of a leisurely examination of eccentric, small-town life, while veteran characters share the screen with young heartthrobs, hoping to appeal across the generational divide.
The film’s laid-back charms, playful scenarios and sympathetic characters effortlessly raise a smile and ensure numerous tears are shed before the credits roll, but there is little onscreen beyond Eikichi’s striking peroxide hairdo to ensure The Mohican Comes Home stands out amongst its numerous contemporaries.
The Mohican Comes Home opens on December 15
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