Movie Monday – Gaku: Minna no Yama (2010)

As promise, I am going to go off script here and present some of the movies that I saw this year that were not necessarily Korean movies but absolutely some of the best movies that I seen this year, 2014. So stay with me here as I present the first one, a Japanese film from 2010: Gaku: Minna no Yama.

Starring: Shun Oguri as Sanpo Shimazaki, Masami Nagasawa as Kumi Shiina, Kuranosuke Sasaki as Masato Noda, Takuya Ishida as Toshio Akutsu, and Yoshie Ichige as Ayako Tanimura.

Rating: PG

Running Time: 126 min

Twinkies: 4+ stars

Synopsis: Sanpo Shimazaki (Shun Oguri) is a volunteer mountain rescuer. He climbs mountains all over the world and knows well the difficulties and the beauty of the mountains. Sanpo wants to share his knowledge of the mountains to others.

Kumi Shiina (Masami Nagasawa) is new volunteer mountain rescuer attempting to follow in her father’s footsteps. Kumi also learns the perils of her new job – failed missions, the bereaved families blaming the rescuers, and the awesome power of mother nature itself. A raging winter storm then strikes the mountain. Multiple distress calls come in. Kumi goes out for a rescue mission and what awaits for her is an unimaginable threat from mother nature.

Musings: This movie is of note because of one major thing: cinematography. The cinematography alone deserves the highest rating as well as the praise. We always take advantage of the service worker and I imagine these rescue workers are no exception. From the beginning, each scene was orchestrated to perfection. Not only do you gain an appreciation for what a rescue worker endures but also the thrills (and chills) of what a rescuee might experience.

The visuals were simply stunning! As I watched, I felt not only was this a movie telling a story but it was also a travelogue of the Alps region. It showed you how majestic the mountains were as well as how dangerous one false step could send you tumbling down into the abyss, off a cliff or into a deep, dark crevasse to your death.

The stunts were amazing. The endurance of the actors who must have spent weeks on the Alps and the weather they endured also was impressive. Most of the time, actors use stunt doubles, but in a lot of scenes for this movie, it became obvious that the actors themselves did most of the work.

The rescue scenes portrayed gave you a greater appreciation for the service provided by these mountain rescuers. I couldn’t even imagine doing the work or enduring the weather. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, climbing the Alps is not on my Bucket List. I don’t think I’d last a day! As far as the acting, most of the scenes were orchestrated to show the life (and death) of rescue workers.

Oguri Shun’s Shimazaki Sanpo as a volunteer rescue worker who lived on the mountain for most of the year so that he could be a first responder for any incident was an excellent portrayal of a man who simply loved the mountains. Nagasawa Masami as Kumi definitely showed us a woman trying to understand her father whose love for the mountain and willingness to sacrifice his life for his job was his number one objective. Definitely a great movie that the entire family will (and should) appreciate. Exciting to watch.

Trailer is available on on YouTube Website only. The movie is available on several sites. Ask me if your interested.

I’m available on Twitter. Thanks to all of you Twinkles out here who are taking the time to read! If you have a suggestion for a future review, just leave me a comment! I’m always happy to have movie suggestions.

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