It's admirable that Kore-eda sets himself new challenges each time he makes a film, but the attempt to conjure substance from conversations improvised around a complicated and obscure back-story in Distance proves fairly unrewarding. Opening scenes sketch the domestic lives of four very disparate individuals; only when they converge and drive into a forest together is it revealed that they're all relatives of cult members whose terrorist action in Tokyo caused many deaths three years earlier. The cult executed the culprits, and these protagonists are visiting the site to commemorate the deaths. Along the way they meet a cult member (Asano), who leads them to an old cabin in the woods; a night is spent reminiscing and soul searching. Kore-eda must be searching for something banal and everyday which explains why people join cults and perpetrate atrocities in their name. Whatever the answer, it proves elusive - which must be why he suddenly introduces an anomalous hint of melodrama in the closing scenes, questioning the real identity of Atsushi (Arata), one of the mourners.
Cast and crew