Movie Review: Hirokazu Koreeda’s After The Storm is a breezy portrait of a sore loser

What’s worse than a failed novelist and deadbeat dad? How about a failed novelist and deadbeat dad who has been reduced to working for a sleazy detective agency, and blows every payday because he’s miserably addicted to betting on bicycle races? The Japanese writer-director Hirokazu Koreeda has set out to create something like the ultimate inveterate failure with Ryôta Shinoda (Hiroshi Abe), the central character of After The Storm. He is too vain to admit that his day job isn’t Method “research” for a book. When he isn’t rummaging around the home of his elderly mom, Yoshiko (Kirin Kiki), for knickknacks to pawn, he spies on his son’s Little League games through binoculars. Every night, he stumbles into a crappy apartment of a uniquely Japanese variety—the kind so small that it (and, by extension, a character’s entire pathetic life) can fit into a …

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