you have seen director Shinobu Yaguchi’s previous films such as Waterboys and
Swing Girls, you should be familiar with his winning formula: place the main characters in a strange
situation where they have to overcome some
major challenges (often with unexpected and hilarious results) and allow them to ultimately triumph in a rousing climax that
invariably makes viewers laugh, clap and
cheer. His latest film Wood Job! does not
stray too far from this formula, which means it is another heartwarming zero-to-hero comedy, something that Yaguchi has perfected over the years.
Yuki Hirano (Shota Sometani) is a young man living in the city who doesn’t really have a purpose in life. After failing his final exams, he decides to join a forestry course because of the picture of an attractive lady (Masami Nagasawa) on the cover of the course’s brochure. As expected, he hates the job initially but soon his views start to change, but the real question is: can he transform from a ‘city wimp’ to a ‘real mountain man’?…
Wood Job! starts off as a fun little adventure and ends in quite an epic fashion. The cast all give competent performances, with tough guy Hideaki Ito standing out with a particularly funny and convincing portrayal of a simple-minded but strong villager who shows a lot of pride towards his work. The film carries some important environmental messages and contains wonderful scenes that show the beauty of nature. Also, the villagers’ attitude and respect for nature are admirable.
Funny, heartfelt and meaningful, Wood Job! ranks as one of Yaguchi’s best films. It is guaranteed to be a crowd favourite at this year’s Japanese Film Festival. So don’t miss it!
The Bottom Line: Shinobu Yaguchi has done a mighty Good Job! with Wood Job!.
(Seen at the 18th JFF)