Snow Falling on Cedars

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Overview

Nine years after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, a small town in the Pacific Northwest still struggles with the troubling legacy of U.S. policies against Asian-Americans. In December 1950, just off the shores of San Piedro Island in Washington, a Japanese-American man named Kazuo Miyamoto Rick Yune stands accused of murder after his close friend Carl Heine Eric Thal is found drowned in icy waters. As the trial gets under way, with Alvin Hooks James Rebhorn prosecuting Kazuo and Nels Gudmundsson Max Von Sydow ...
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Overview

Nine years after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, a small town in the Pacific Northwest still struggles with the troubling legacy of U.S. policies against Asian-Americans. In December 1950, just off the shores of San Piedro Island in Washington, a Japanese-American man named Kazuo Miyamoto Rick Yune stands accused of murder after his close friend Carl Heine Eric Thal is found drowned in icy waters. As the trial gets under way, with Alvin Hooks James Rebhorn prosecuting Kazuo and Nels Gudmundsson Max Von Sydow defending him, reporter Ishmael Chambers Ethan Hawke covers the proceedings for the local newspaper. It's difficult for Ishmael to view the trial objectively, as his first love was a Japanese-American girl named Hatsue Youki Kudoh, who later married Kazuo. Now, Ishmael has discovered that, when the Japanese-American residents of San Piedro Island were sent to internment camps during World War II, Carl's mother used their incarceration to scuttle a land purchase by Kazuo's family. This could suggest a motive for murder, but Ishmael is reluctant to step forward with the story. Snow Falling on Cedars was based on the best-selling novel by David Guterson, adapted for the screen by Ron Bass and writer/director Scott Hicks.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
Snow Falling on Cedars is one of those films that earns itself a viewing simply on the strength of its gorgeous look. Scott Hicks's follow-up to Shine might have been shot by Ansel Adams, so lush are its images of the Pacific Northwest circa 1950. The cinematographer is actually the great Robert Richardson (Eight Men Out, The Horse Whisperer), and his expert brushstrokes make the film a more profound meditative experience than it ought to be. Not a particularly interesting or suspenseful plot structure, the central murder trial exists more as a window to the memory of Ethan Hawke's Ishmael, who mentally catalogues so many past time periods that the viewer becomes desperate to sort them out as the scenes blend seamlessly from era to era. Some flashbacks seem like screenplay leftovers -- unexplained, existing more as dreamy fragments. The performances are mostly understated, in keeping with the largely visual agenda of the film, but the result is that it's hard to develop an emotional tie to either Ishmael or Hatsue (Youki Kudoh). The film wins points for exploring the wartime internment of Japanese-Americans, a topic too little understood and generally ignored by filmmakers. Further, it's always nice to see the talents of the wonderful Max Von Sydow continuing to be utilized. Though undoubtedly flawed, as pure visual stimulus, Snow Falling on Cedars is delicious candy.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 1/23/2001
  • UPC: 096898610636
  • Original Release: 1999
  • Rating:

  • Source: Universal Studios
  • Presentation: Special Edition
  • Format: VHS

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Ethan Hawke Ishmael Chambers
James Cromwell Judge Fielding
Richard Jenkins Sheriff Art Moran
James Rebhorn Alvin Hooks
Sam Shepard Arthur Chambers
Eric Thal Carl Heine
Max von Sydow Nels Gudmundsson
Youki Kudoh Hatsue Imada
Rick Yune Kazuo Miyamoto
Jan Rudes Ole Jurgensen
Celia Weston Etta Heine
Max Wright Horace Whaley
Arija Bareikis Susan Marie Heine
Zeljko Ivanek Dr.Whitman
Caroline Kava Helen Chambers
Zak Orth Deputy Abel Martinson
Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa Zenhichi Miyamoto
Daniel Von Bargen Carl Heine Sr.
Reeve Carney Young Ishmael Chambers
Anne Suzuki Young Hatsue Imada
Frank C. Turner Juror
Technical Credits
Scott Hicks Director, Screenwriter
Seth Arnett Stunts
Ronald Bass Producer, Screenwriter
Eric Batut Sound/Sound Designer
Carol Baum Executive Producer
Doug Byggdin Art Director
Hank Corwin Editor
Jim Erickson Set Decoration/Design
Katterli A. Frauenfelder Asst. Director
David Guterson Co-producer
Kerry Heysen Associate Producer
James Newton Howard Score Composer
Renee Ehrlich Kalfus Costumes/Costume Designer
Kathleen Kennedy Producer
Frank Marshall Producer
Jeannine Oppewall Production Designer
Robert Richardson Cinematographer
David Rubin Casting
Lloyd A. Silverman Executive Producer
Harry Ufland Producer
Richard Vane Co-producer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 5 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(3)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Moving

    This movie was EXCELLENT truely one-of-a-kind (as all love stories tend to be) it really brings to mind the quote that 'the difference between love and obsession is drawin only by circumstance' if she loved him back - it would have been true; everlasting love; but sadly... it was not meant to be

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A MUST SEE MOVIE

    Everything from the plot to the music alone, will grab you.Ethan Hawke really makes you feel the pain he's going through physically and mentally. Great love story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A Truly Great Movie

    Snow Falling On Cedars is more than a movie, it is also a deeply emotional and psychological experience. From the forest and snow images, the sound track, and the blending of time, the movie will keep you captive until past the ending. It has political importance for telling a part of the tragedy of Japanese Americans caused by racial fears during World War II. It is an accurate court room drama, a wonderful mystery story, and a truly compassionate love story. Do not miss the movie. It is a classic of cinema art.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Great period film on prejudice and love between a Japanese girl and white boy

    This was an excellent period film which show prejudice of Japanese-American people during World War II. Even though Japanese-Americans fought in the war for the US, they were still sent to concentration camp and were treated unfairly in the US. This movie has a story about a forbidden love affair between the Japanese girl and white boy and a murder trial of a Japanese-American man who was accused of murder of a white man who happened to be killed accidentally but the town already has in their minds that the Japanese-American man had killed the man in cold-blood in order to get his land back from the man who has died. The movie showed people's prejudice in that period which exists even in today's society.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews