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The Wind Rises/Kaze tachinu


Stars: Voices (Subtitled): Voices(Dubbed): Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Martin Short, Stanley Tucci, Mandy Patinkin, William H Macy, Werner Herzog, Mae Whitman, Jennifer Grey, Elijah Wood, Darren Criss, Zach Callison

Director: Hayao Miyazaki

Since Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki and Ghibli Studios are cinematic icons, The Wind Rises, trailed as his final film, was certain to be hallowed as a masterpiece.

Which, in parts, it is.

The animation is masterly, dreamlike and beautiful, creating images that remain in the mind after the end, neatly summed up in the line ““Airplanes are beautiful dreams”.

The narrative, however, is rather less impressive.

It charts the life, love and career of country boy Jiro Horokoshi whose dreams of flying and creating aircraft, catalysed by lyrical dreams in which he meets and is advised by famed Italian aeronautical designer Caproni come true. Horokoshi’s most famous creation, the Zero fighter, memorably made its lethal mark in WW2, along with Jiro’s romance with a young woman TB sufferer.

Unsurprisingly, perhaps, Miyazaki – who doubles as screenwriter - largely ignores depicting Japanese action during World War Two in favour of stunning sequences of the earthquake and subsequent fire and typhoon that devastated Tokyo and Yokohama in 1923, rather than, say, illustrating the attack in Pearl Harbor in 1941 when Zero fighters triggered America’s entry into the war.

““Not a single plane came back. That's what it means to lose a war” is the designer’s final victim

So If The Wind Rises requires a moral, I’d settle for, ‘don’t mention the war”.

Alan Frank

USA 2014. UK Distributor: StudioCanal. Colour.
126 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: PG.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 08 May 2014