The good stuff
A raw and relentless drama with deeply rooted thriller elements. It feels like a cross between Rage and The Light Shines Only There. If that's a bit hard to grasp, that's perfectly okay since Ohmori delivers a strange and uncomfortable film, with stellar performances and a completely bonkers soundtrack. A neat little masterpiece.
If you appreciate Omori's uncompromising and bleak look at our society, Whispering of the Gods is one of the purest films you'll find out there.
A very solid but somewhat safe Japanese drama. Mother serves a story about bad parenting and neglect, which quickly draws parallels to Koreeda's Nobody Knows. The films would make a fine double bill, though Mother is slightly darker, entirely in line with Ohmori's other films.
Akiko is a single mom. She's lost the support of her family, she has terrible taste in men, and she has to raise a young boy named Shuhei. She often uses him as leverage to get money from others, but people are getting tired of her begging. Akiko's situation is bound to get worse when her latest lover leaves her behind pregnant with another kid.
Performances are great, especially since there are few sympathetic characters here. The cast makes sure that it's not so much a film about blame or good vs bad, but about tragic situations and their often inevitable outcomes. Stylistically Ohmori could've done more with Mother though. While not bad, it looks rather plain and expected. It's certainly not a bad film, but nothing too memorable.
I don't think dramas can get any more Japanese than this. A film centered around tea ceremonies, with some very light drama on the side. The most surprising thing is that it comes from director Tatsushi Ohmori, a man who started his careers with one of the darkest dramas I've ever seen.
I'm not extremely familiar with the Japanese tea ceremony, but I do know it's a very delicate and elaborate set of operations that has meaning beyond simple explanations and reasoning. With a powerhouse like Kirin Kiki in front of the camera, flanked by younger talents like Haru Kuroki and Mikako Tabe, the film has more than enough dramatic weight, even when the plot remains very light.
Ohmori's direction is solid. The camera moves slowly and deliberately, framing is clean and the music is gentle. It doesn't really stand out from its peers, but it sets a perfect tone for this slightly meandering film. No masterpiece, but a very warm, rich and subtle drama that is more than just the sum of its parts.
A manzai-based comedy with a manga background. It's definitely not a film with big international appeal and fans of Tatsushi Ohmori should expect something completely different from his other work, but the mix with drama is surprisingly effective and well executed. Short, sweet and loveable, but very niche.