Picks and Pans Review: Snow Falling on Cedars
Movies don't come much prettier than Snow Falling on Cedars, but they sure do come more fast-paced and more involving. This meditative (read numbingly slow) tale of love, murder and ethnic prejudice in the Pacific Northwest of 1954 includes endless scenes of, yes, snow falling on cedars, snow falling on farm fields and snow falling on the movie's morose protagonist (Hawke), a newspaperman and World War II vet. He's still in love with the Japanese-American girl (Kudoh) who left him behind when she and her family were trundled off to an internment camp during the war. Now her husband, also of Japanese ancestry, is on trial for a murder he says he didn't commit. As Hawke covers the trial, his past and present converge as he tries to resolve his conflicted emotions about Kudoh and their lost romance.
Snow Falling, based on a bestselling 1994 novel by David Guterson, finds director Scott Hicks, whose first feature film was Shine (1996), suffering sophomore slump. Snow's chilly scenes of winter fail to melt the heart. (PG-13)
Bottom Line: A long, cold, very slow winter