Thursday, January 17, 2013

Must See Foreign Films: Sway aka Yureru


When two brothers get involved in an accident and one of them had to take the stand to recall the events, the painful memory of his relationship with his brother starts to muddle the facts. The past becomes one with the present in his head and the truth becomes harder to see.

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Takeru (Joe Odagiri) goes home to attend his mother's funeral. He is now a successful photographer in Japan while his older brother, Minoru, stays back home to care for his parents. Takeru spends a night with Chie, his ex-girlfriend and a girl Minoru now likes. The three of them spent a day together in an old hang out place, a river where a hanging bridge is suspended above it. When Takeru crossed the swaying bridge, Chie wanted to follow. Minoru tried to stop her but when she insisted, Minoru tried to protect her. As Takeru takes photos of the beautiful things on the other side of the bridge, he hears Chie's and Minorus voice. Chie falls off a bridge. Takeru's older brother, Minoru, is put to trial and Takeru is forced to take the stand to determine whether or not his brother is guilty.

As Takeru tries to recall the events, old issues between him brother resurfaces which is affecting how Takeru remembers the events he witnessed. The last half of the movie was spent in a courtroom.

It is tempting to see the movie as a family drama but it really is more than that. There is so many layers in the story. There is the layer about how people fall apart because of dreams and realities. Takeru left everything and everyone behind for his dream. When Chie finally realizes she should have gone with Takeru, the journey (the bridge) proved too much for her.

There is also the ever questionable one's perception of reality that muddles how everyone believes to be true. As Takeru digs for the truth based on what he witnessed, old issues and pain surface that swings what he perceives to be true.

It is surprising how Director Miwa Nishikawa sustained the excitement throughout the second half of the film and the ending will surprise you.


Joe Odagiri almost retired after doing the movie because he thinks he can't do a movie with a better story than Sway.

Movie Info

Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Director: Miwa Nishikawa

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