I was expecting great things from Ikiru, given the subject matter. A bureaucrat who has merely gone through the motions most of his life discovers that he has a few months to live. I expected he would go through an existential crisis and come out on the side of the living, until the end.

What I was not expecting was a lecture.

The beginning was fantastic. The absurdity of the bureaucrats who can't get anything done made me think of Brazil, another film where this was done effectively. But shortly afterwards, the man finds himself in a bar with a writer/journalist and the scene is so pedantic I lost all interest. Maybe it's because I get it. Maybe it's because I've thought about this exact type of existentialism for years. But I didn't expect to get banged on the head, not by Kurosawa. If I wanted a lesson on it I'd read Tolstoy or Dostoevsky rather than read subtitles. I was extremely disappointed, and had to stop the film at the 40 minute mark. I can only assume that the rest of the film is him discovering what it truly means to be alive and all that it entails, and even though I could probably anticipate what was coming I still would have watched (quite eagerly, I might add), but I was too afraid of more preaching, something I cannot stand, especially in film. If someone can tell me he stops preaching after that scene in the bar I'll give it a go again, otherwise, 5 stars or not, I think I will pass on this one.

Part of the Sunday Mornings with Coffee Series

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