June 22, 2013

Hachi: A Dog's Tale

Lasse Hallstrom, 2009

Based on a true story, Parker Wilson (Richard Gere) discovers a stray dog at his local train station. Not wanting to surrender it to the pound, he decides to take it home. He soon discovers that the dog returns to the train station every day to await his return from the University where he teaches.

The Japanese story of Hachiko, the loyal Akita Inu, is told in Western form. It's a compelling story and a look at an everlasting emotional bond of dog and man. Richard Gere is reunited with Jason Alexander, who plays Carol the station manager. Although the film is quite formulaic, it doesn't need to run on much more than its rather basic story to extract the teardrops. Gere is effective as the forbearing father who can't think of the dog spending the night in the cold puppy pound. Ironically, Hachi sits through the cold winter months waiting for Parker to step off of the train cart. The connection between the two is both unique and inspiring. Hallstrom uses creative techniques such as shooting from Hachi's perspective, using vague colors to mimic canine vision. The emotional tone of the movie will solicit memories of Marley and Me. While somber at times, its a story worth being told.

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