Hachi – A Dog’s Tale

Hachi - A Dog's Tale

Look. What can we say? We reviewed ‘Hachi – A Dog’s Tale’, a movie about a dog so faithful it waited 9 years for its Japanese owner to return. Did we really review this? Yes. We really did. We reviewed a movie with Richard Gere in it. We’re eclectic like that. Prepare to cry your eyes out.

I first heard about this movie from a co-worker and immediately recognized the game from the recurring gag in Ai Yazawa’s manga, Nana (which is quite great, by the way). My co-worker proceeded to spoil the movie for us (which I’ll avoid doing here) but did stress how both he and his girlfriend were crying their eyes out by the end of the movie. I believed him when he said it was sad, but was it any good? I thought I’d give it a test run with my dog-loving little sisters to give the film a fair chance. Me? I’m more of a shark type of guy, you know?

My first immediate disappointment was Richard Gere. While I don’t recall ever watching a film with Richard Gere in it, I was hoping for a lesser-known human cast – though I can’t deduct points for Gere’s presence as he was, at least, in no way annoying. And the puppy was very cute indeed – which means a lot coming from me.

My main problem with ‘Hachi’ is… the climax of the movie is found right smack in the middle of it, and it’s also lacking in plot substance. ‘Hachi’ is about a man who gets overly attached to a puppy he finds abandoned at a train station, eventually convincing his wife to let him keep it despite their ‘no pets’ policy. See? That statement alone covers approximately 33% of the movie already. I contemplated attaching the trailer to this review but ultimately decided against it because it pretty much gives away the entire plot.

So what does the movie do right? The acting is top-notch and fully believable. The emotion in the eyes of the dog actors is particularly remarkable, while the interaction between Richard Gere’s character, Parker, and Hachi is both amusing and charming. The video quality is pretty with soft ambient lighting and tones. Hachi’s not a bad movie but it got repetitive and could easily have been edited down to an hour-long feature – and the main piano theme is jarring once you’ve heard it for the nth time.

In conclusion, I liked it, yes, but I was having trouble keeping my eyes open by the very end. The only thing that really woke me up was the sound of hearing one of my little sisters sobbing, which was unusual because I’ve never seen her cry during a movie; she generally dislikes sitting down to watch films to begin with.

I would have also preferred it if the setting had taken place in its country of origin, Japan, with Japanese actors to add some verity to the story… the dog was called Hachi, after all.