Archive for May 15th, 2012

Control Tower (2011)

In a remote area of Hokkaido, two lonely high school students meet and connect through a shared love of music. Takeru, a bit of a loner lives an alienated and directionless life, drifting through school. He doesn’t mix with anybody and spends his lunch time alone in the school hall. That all changes when he meets serial school-transferee Mizuho who immediately takes a shine to him. She is of a similar nature and in her Takeru finds someone with whom he can connect through a shared love of music. They quickly become friends. Discovering a guitar belonging to his father in storage at his house and borrowing an electric keyboard from a friend of his father for Mizuho to play they decide to form a band and try and enter a national radio competition by writing an original song. But as their friendship becomes stronger, something happens to tear the two apart.

Sometimes a movie comes along that you don’t know anything much about it. You’ve heard on the grapevine it’s really good but that’s all you know. You have no idea what to expect out of it but when you watch it, it turns out to be an incredible experience that lingers long in your mind afterwards. Such was the feeling I got after seeing this superb movie. It is so amazing. This movie by director Miki Takahiro who usually does music PV’s was inspired by the song Kanseitou (Control Tower) by Japanese band Galileo Galilei. The song struck a note so much for the director he had to make a movie from it. He’s even set the movie in the band’s hometown of Wakkanai, Hokkaido.

The movie which is all about loneliness, friendship, music and feelings of first time love is carried by two excellent actors in teenagers Kento Yamazaki and Ai Hashimoto who are perfectly cast in their roles. Hashimoto is really cute and endearing! The chemistry between both is brilliant. You only have to see the glances between them to know the love between them is strong. Takeru longs to make a confession of love to her but hasn’t got the guts to do so and Mizuko knows only too well that her time in the town is short. When the inevitable split occurs between them when Mizuko has move once more, Takeru conveys his heartbreak by singing a song he has composed to a small group of local people in a bar. You can hear the raw emotion in his voice and see the tears starting to well up in his eyes. You really feel for him as the only person to truly understand him has gone from his life perhaps forever and he’s all alone again.

Not only is the storyline wonderful and well written but so is the cinematography and soundtrack. The landscape of Wakkanai is breathtaking to see especially from the top of the town’s hill during a snow shower. The director understands the use of colour in enhancing certain scenes such as having an orange hue in one to make it more atmospheric. The beautiful photography on show just adds another level of greatness to this movie. The music used is a perfect compliment to this tale.

Control Tower might not be a well known movie outside of Japan but it is certainly worth checking out if you have a chance to do so. It’s one of those movies which touches your soul on many levels.

Sadako’s Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

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