Jiro Dreams Of Sushi - Film ReviewWritten by administrator
With an innocuous title like Jiro Dreams Of Sushi, you'd probably expect some deep, existential melodrama to pervade this film; something unexpectedly surreal, even. But nope, what you get is what it says on the packaging: a simple biography, with a simple concept. And somehow, that's enough to make this a generally beautiful film, inspiring to anyone serious about their craft.
Jiro Dreams of Sushi is the life story of 85-year-old Jiro Ono: the world's oldest 3-star Michelin chef, proprietor of a 10-seat, sushi-only restaurant, and a man whose dedication to the craft of sushi-making borders on the spiritual. The film doesn't elaborate too much on Jiro-san's background, but this doesn't detract from the illusion that we've been given an intimate peek into the sushi guru's mind, via his ascetic pursuit of perfection.
Viewers expecting a conventional plot or startling emotional revelations are likely to be disappointed though; Jiro Dreams of Sushi is nothing if not understated, although Director Gelb does explore the perspectives of both of Jiro's sons – Takashi and Yoshikazu – as well as his handful of disciples.
Nonetheless, the film manages to inject a subtle humour that entertains as much as instructs on certain aspects of the culture: one scene, for example, has Jiro expound on some of his groundbreaking innovations in sushi-making… which include massaging the tako for fifteen extra minutes, and cooking the shrimp to order, unaware of how mundane it sounds to the uninitiated. These anecdotes not only provide humour, but insights into the ideals of simplicity, repetition and tradition that suffuse the culture of sushi-making in Japan.
In terms of craftsmanship, Jiro Dreams of Sushi comes close to the level of perfection that it explores in its subject matter. The film possesses a beautiful score and some pristine camerawork, although some may find Gelb's liberal use of slow motion an unnecessary garnish for such a gracefully simplistic film.
Jiro Dreams of Sushi is likely to be typecast as a film for foodies, rather than a movie that delves deep into the qualities of perfection in a master craftsman. Those looking for a more visceral experience would be well-advised to stay away from this zen-like documentary… that being said, we're now jonesing for tuna sashimi.
Summary: Beautifully crafted, and as deceptively simplistic as its gastronomic subject matter.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5