5 Centimeters Per Second 秒速5センチメートル, Byōsoku Go Senchimētoru (2007) – Japan

Review by: Andrew Chan FCCA AACTA
Edited by: Andrew Chan (24 July 2013)
Review Date: 18th November 2007

Director: Makoto Shinkai

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Anime at its very best…

To be perfectly honest, I have always treated anime for time fillers or pure mindless entertainment, but the same cannot be said of the 65 minutes film by the “Wong Kar Wai” of Anime – (Shinkai Makoto) in “5 Centimeters Per Second”. The realism, the feeling, the memories and the heart-felt moments that this anime delivers is really truly amazing. As I read somewhere, they described the film in a single line: “words can not describe this, you must experience it yourself.” Perhaps, the film just strike the current reviewer right at the heart and at its very core, he is very much relating to the feelings of the protagonist. It is difficult to describe the feeling, but at this very moment, 1:05am on the 18th November 2007, I am still feeling it. It’s just been moments since I finished the film and I am still stunned and taken back to a sense of realisation. Perhaps, the film is great, but what made it outstanding is the manner that the story, artwork, the scenery, the characters, the situations and the style the film is directed, is so magical on a very personal level.

The story goes on in three short chapters, concerning a guy’s life from the age of 13 to around 25. It goes without saying that words cannot describe or perhaps I can never truly do justice to this beautiful piece of work. In fact this flick possesses more emotional core than 10 usual films combined. Never have another director be able to so seamlessly depict the notion of love and timing so beautifully painted like a dream within a dream. The final moments of the guy looking on the train as it steam pass one carriage after another, perhaps suggesting the years that he have been waiting for someone and when the train is gone, the girl is no longer there, suggesting the notion of moving on and getting on with life. It is little moments like these that make the movie so much better and there is a hint of ambiguity about Shinkai Makoto’s work that makes it so thought provoking. This is truly a film that remains close to your heart and lingers upon you, even after the credits have so extravagantly rolled.

The music core at the end is nothing short of outstanding and provides a fitting backdrop for the audience to reflect and think upon both their own lives as well as well as what has just happened in the last hour. Regrets are something that we will all experience and it goes back to an old saying: “people will always long for what we cannot have”. Perhaps, that is human nature and almost certainly this film is able to explore this theme in the most cinematic manner yet without neglecting the aspects of realism.

To call this movie, a great movie is really an understatement and with a hint of personal bias, there is no question that I clearly embraces this film. It is a movie that will require a second or a third viewing and perhaps giving a different perspective and meaning each time. It is a film that can affect people, remind them, and how the audience react will depend very much on their own intangible past and memories. Sometimes, in some reviews, I tend to search and seek for another word to write, but for this film, I can really go on forever. However, this is neither a personal diary nor an autobiography and so let’s wrap this up by telling you guys to watch this or regret not enduring through a beautiful, yet bittersweet journey into the unknown. In other words – I am simply blown away… (Neo 2007)

I rate it 10/10

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