Sunday, August 22, 2010

A Movie a Day, day 98: Nobody Knows

I’d had this movie in my Netflix queue for months before I finally clicked on it last night. I mean, how often are you in the mood for a movie that’s not only long (140 minutes) but depressing? The based-on-a true-story tale of a bunch of kids, the oldest just 12 and the youngest not yet 5, whose mother abandons them in their Tokyo apartment, Nobody Knows is one of those real-life horror stories about the dark side of urban anonymity.

The slow pace takes a little getting used to, but it pays off as this near-silent movie tells us about the kids and their environment by following them in what feels like real time. Most of the talk is in the first few minutes, when the children’s mother is still around. A petite, cheery woman with a voice like a little girl’s, she acts almost like a kid herself, charming the youngest girl and boy, Yuki and Shigeru, with her playful chatter. But nearly everything she says turns out to be a lie, concocted to make her look like the loving mother of a happy family.

In fact, their apartment is a prison for the kids, since she doesn’t want the landlord or the men she dates to know she has young children. Read the rest on The House Next Door, Slant Magazine's blog.

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