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Harmonium DVD Review


“Harmonium” is a dark and engrossing character drama.

“Harmonium” begins by establishing a seemingly normal family (a father and husband named Toshio, a wife and mother named Akie, and a young daughter named Hotaru). That normalcy disappears, however, when an old friend of Toshio’s named Yasaka is released from jail and visits Toshio. Toshio offers him work, helps him out and allows him to stay with them family as he is trying to turn his life around. Alas, Yasaka’s presence disrupts this family’s life and things soon spiral out of control.

“Harmonium” is one of those slow burn dramas that becomes increasingly darker and more screwed up as it goes along. It’s a film about secrets, the past, family, consequences, and the impact that a person (and events) can have. I wish I could go into more detail about the characters and events that occur in this movie, but part of what makes “Harmonium” work as well as it does is seeing everything unfold over the course of the 2 hour plus runtime. The less you know about this movie the better as the surprises and character drama is more effective that way.

The cast is stellar across the board. Tadanobu Asano shines as Yasaka (a man with a deeply dark past) as does Kanji Furutachi who plays the quiet Toshio that is hiding secrets of his own. The real standout here is Mariko Tsutsui whose character has the most depth here.


Presentation: 1.66:1. How does it look? Viewers can expect to find a sharp transfer on this DVD.

Audio Track: Japanese 5.1. How does it sound? This 5.1 track does the job.

Extras: Film Movement trailers, an interview between David Wilentz, Yuko Torihara, and actor Kanji Furutachi from the New York Asian Film Festival, and a short film by Kaji Fukada titled “Birds” about a wife and husband and the husband’s lover.

February 4, 2018 - Posted by | DVD review | ,

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