This Japanese movie has been in my queue for a while and I finally got around to watching it this past weekend. “Departing Osaka Station at 0:00” is the type of movie that I really am drawn to because it has elements in it that I love: travel by train, unplanned journeys, a town by the sea… it’s like something out of a dream!
There are two main plots, one of possible romance and the other involving a double-suicide, which come together to form a decent, yet unremarkable, story. The title of the movie refers to a special train which starts at Osaka at midnight, with an unknown destination. The passengers have different story-lines and they all come together at the destination town.
The overall ambiance of the film is quiet and calm, with some amount of introspection and character growth, but really there wasn’t enough and it wasn’t treated as deeply or seriously as I think it should have been. That’s my main problem with the movie… there are some aspects that just don’t fit the serious themes, for instance, there are some playful transitions from one scene to the next that you might expect in a straight up comedy. But they just don’t fit here, and they detract from the overall feeling. The subject of suicide is one of the most serious you can bring up, but it’s treated so lightheartedly that it feels almost disrespectful.
I liked the acting very much, especially the postmaster played by the late Hideji Ōtaki (大滝 秀治), and the suicidal teenager played by Hanako Takigawa (多岐川華子). I think her story was a missed opportunity to offer a more serious take on the subject that many people think about. I like that her story mixes with the older businessman’s (played by Shiro Taihei) to show that the problem that affects people of all ages. Unfortunately, the businessman’s character is too comedic to be taken seriously. (He was a comedian, after all)
At any rate, I enjoyed “Departing Osaka Station at 0:00” enough that I’ll seek out more by the same director in the future.
My rating: 8.5/10