(Review originally written at 12 April 2009)

This is a rather good little movie, that features only two characters, hardly any dialog and a simple but yet effective concept of an American and a Japanese soldier during WW II, who are both marooned on a small uninhabited island in the Pacific Ocean.

Of course it's quite predictable from the start on how the movie is going to progress further. Still the execution of it is done rather well and also surprising. I like how the first halve of the movie is basically like "Tom & Jerry" when the two main characters only bug- and try to steal from each other. It makes the movie quite pleasant, without ever really becoming fully ridicules or a comedy by the way.

Its themes and clichés are all being handled well. It's a nice touch that the two main characters don't speak the same language and therefore hardly ever use any words to communicate. Nevertheless they start to understand and respect each other, despite their big difference and the ongoing war in the pacific and therefore hatred and suspicion toward each other, almost constantly.

John Boorman is a director who often puts nature-themes in this movie. With this movie as well obviously, as it's set almost entirely in the open and wild nature. It shows how men uses natural elements at hand in order to survive. The movie doesn't need much to tell a 103 minute long story with and it does so without ever becoming boring or so. This is also thanks to Conrad L. Hall's camera-work, that uses some great and original perspectives at times.

The movie only has two character in it and despite the fact that they don't have an awful lot of dialog the two actors still carry the movie with their skills. Toshirô Mifune is one of the best and certainly also one of the best known Japanese actors of all time. He of course became famous for starring in many Akira Kurosawa movies, often in the main lead. Lee Marvin of course also is no small actor and had already won an Oscar several years prior to this movie. It's something special watching these two big actors together, who both obviously have their own distinctive style, which also suits the movie its main concept.

A nice little unique movie.


About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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