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Snow Falling on Cedars

Director:Scott Hicks
Writers:Scott Hicks and Ron Bass
Universal Pictures; PG-13; 130 minutes
Release:12/99
Cast:Ethan Hawke, Youki Kudoh, Sam Shepard, James Cromwell, Eric Thal, Rick Yune

Snow Falling on Cedars deals with a sidelined aspect of American history: World War II Japanese internment camps. Staged near Puget Sound, it follows the tense, damaging fallout from internment on a Japanese man (Yune) wrongfully accused of murder, his wife (Youki Kudoh) and her white childhood lover (Ethan Hawke), who still holds a torch for Hatsue.

Ishmael (Hawke) is a young reporter covering the trial, pinned between the shadow of his idealistic journalist father and inner torment that keeps him withholding vital evidence. An intricate series of flashbacks (carried over from David Guterson's source novel of the same name) can be distracting. Grave, ponderous, and visually luxuriant, Snow Falling on Cedars surrenders dramatic force for the evocation of powerful brood.


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