Jack (Jai Koutrae) is a WWI veteran living alone, haunted by his war memories and nightmares in the New South Wales countryside. His solitude ends abruptly when Masaru (Shingo Usami), an escaped Japanese POW, turns up on his land. In the day and night before Australian soldiers arrive rounding up the escapees, the two men exchange painful memories of wartime action, each harbouring demons.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Broken Sun intends to be absorbed rather like a poem, with spiritual and peaceful ambitions. The deliberate pace, the sometimes filtered cinematography, and the sparse dialogue, combine to create the film's mood of regret. Regret for violence, for killing, for friends lost and for the way the Japanese military honour code infected men with a false sense of shame for being prisoners.
These themes haunt the film, which switches in time across two wars. The present is 1944, and Jack (Jai Koutrea) is a vet of the great war before, his demons chasing him to his shack in the NSW bush near Cowra. The WWII Japanese POWs imprisoned there are tormented by their status, driven by an honour system that is beyond white man's understanding. The inner conflicts are the drivers for the film, but the execution is marred by the seemingly ad hoc insertions of the various war action flashbacks, with relevance and clarity loss in some cases.
Some of the dialogue could have done with a good polish - including Masaru's (Shingo Usami) variable grasp of English. Flawed but well intentioned, Broken Sun is an idealistic work (not meant as a put down) which doesn't quite achieve its objectives.
Published April 24
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BROKEN SUN (MA)
CAST: Jai Koutrae, Shingo Usami, Kentaro Hara, Kuni Hashimoto, Sam O'Dell, Mark Redpath, Robin Queree, Rudi Baker, Steve Dodd
PRODUCER: Sasha Huckstepp, Brad Haynes
DIRECTOR: Brad Haynes
SCRIPT: Dacre Timbs
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Anthony Jennings
EDITOR: Hayley Lake
MUSIC: Matteo Zingales
RUNNING TIME: 93 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Jacka Films
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: April 24, 2008