Kaze ni Tatsu Raion
2015 / 139m - Japan
The Lion Standing in the Wind poster


February 13, 2017


A typical Miike in the sense that this is something he hadn't done before. The Lion Standing in the Wind is in essence typical Hollywood schmaltz. Drama cinema with a conscience, though not afraid to throw a little extra cheese on top. The film is a good step better than some of its more offensively sentimental peers, but Miike fans would do well to adjust their expectations before tackling this film.

Koichiro is a Japanese doctor who moves to Kenya to help out in a hospital that treats child soldiers. The circumstances there are dire and Koichiro is eager to make an impact. He has quite a bit of trouble adjusting to life in Kenya though, and he finds himself on the verge of abandoning his mission. Thing change when he connects with a new patient.

No doubt the film is a little neater and more romantic than the story it was based on, but Miike makes sure it doesn't become too saccharine. Performances are solid, the scenes with the Kenyan kids are pretty endearing, and the drama is respectable. Not his greatest work, but far from the disaster I'd feared when I first heard about this film.