Directed by Shimizu Kazuhiko (W no Higeki and Hana yori dango) and written by Shinichi Ishizuka (manga) and Tomoko Yoshida (movie)
Release Date: May 7, 2011
Running Time: 126 min.
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
Rest of cast listed here
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. When Sanpo is called into action he never blames others even though their predicament is usually caused by them.
Kumi Shiina (Masami Nagasawa) is new volunteer mountain rescuer attempting to follow in her father’s footsteps. Under the guidance of rescue leader Masato Noda (Kuranosuke Sasaki) and Sanpo, Kumi undergoes a strict training regiment. 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. Kumi becomes tired and loses her confidence. 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 ….
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.
From the start, I love how they showed the effects of one decision of a mountain hiker. The stark realization of that one decision culminating into a near death experience. As he fell, my heart fell! The filming of the whole scene was realistic and one of a kind.
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 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 rescue workers. I couldn’t even imagine doing the work or enduring the weather. Needless to say, 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. Definitely a great movie that the entire family will (and should) appreciate. Exciting to watch.
MDL Rating: 10.0, I’d give it higher if I could!!