Okuribito (Departures) * 9.5/10


Okuribito tell us the story about Daigo,  a cellist for some orchestra in Tokyo. When he loses his dream and passion, he choose to go back to the country side where he was born, and trying to find another way of life and new final destination. In his hometown, attracted by the money, Daigo gets a job working as an encoffiner, or people who prepared corpse/dead body to be burned. In the land of the rising sun, that job is considered very taboo, and some people even think that it is kind filthy. And now, Daigo must come to grips with his uncomfortable change in life and mentality, while also learning about the beauty of death through the departures.

Okuribito  is a film that coming from Asia and filled with death, corpses and coffins, but doesn’t have any horror stamp above it. In fact, to say that Okuribito is just a simple movie would not be doing it enough Justice. Okuribito is a very powerful and near perfect piece of art disguised as a melodrama movie.

The main character, Daigo, is acted convincingly by Masahiro Motoki. I loved his performance, especially when he’s using his well co-ordinated hands in preparing corpses. His finger and eyes movement is very elegant-looking. Its like he takes you directly into Daigo’s emotion and complexity when he did all those things. Ryoko Hirosue is the only eye-candy of Okuribito. And eye candy she is. As Daigo’s wife, Mika, Hirosue is the only weak point of Okuribito. While she has a certain charms, her constant smile and laugh kind of a bit annoying to watched all the time. She always do that in almost every time camera pop up her face. Okuribito would be more perfect if she can added another layer of sadness and dramatic ingredients to her character. And just like every other great melodrama, Okuribito is filled with a lot of memorable side character, like the cold Daigo’s Boss, or even Daigo’s father who doesn’t even say a single word in this movie.

Music is another power point that makes Okuribito an amazing movie. Because Daigo character’s is a cellist, we can expect that a lot of tear jerking classical influence songs will be heard. And that’s true. Especially when Joe Hisaishi is responsible for it. This is the guy behind almost every single studio ghibli movie’s scored. This is the guy behind the score of  the only Jet Li’s movie that almost make me cry. This is my favorite movie composer aside Yasunori Mitsuda and Alan Silvestri. This is Joe Hisaishi! He can do no wrong.

Okuribito is near-perfect because of one or two cliche thing. Like Ryoko Hirosue acting , or that cheesy scene where Daigo playing the cello in the fields with mountains in the background which felt like a condom advertisement. But that tiny fault can only felt by pretentious dude like me who always looking for some error. Ignore that because Okuribito will swept away your emotions. It is the only movie that dealt with death themes that doesn’t includes desperation, dark, despair, frustation, agonies, or helpless against the grim reaper. Okuribito approach it with with a positive and encouraging look, also forgiveness and faith. It is not “Goodbye forever” message, but “I’ll see you again”. It feels liberating and peaceful. Just like life itself.


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