Ai no Yokan
2007 / 102m - Japan
The Rebirth poster


April 25, 2023


A somewhat barren Kobayashi. He isn't the loudest or most expressive of Japanese drama directors, but he has a knack for elevating dry visuals into a more stylized package. A skill not fully on display in The Rebirth, I was sad to find out. There's still enough dramatic intrigue to keep things interesting, but I expected a little more.

A middle school girl kills one of her classmates. A traumatic experience that leaves the victim's father all alone, and the mother of the killer with a tremendous feeling of guilt. The father moves away to start his life again, and the mother follows him around. Though they share a dark history, they never connect with each other.

The performances are good and the premise is pretty interesting. I also liked the minimalistic approach but would've loved a tad more attention to the styling. There's an almost documentary-like feel to the film that was just a little too bare-bones for my taste. Not a bad film, but far from Kobayashi's best.