Monday, February 3, 2014

Saturday Movies: Jiro Dreams of Sushi (2011)

I'm not sure what exactly drew me to this movie. I don't enjoy cooking or sushi, but yet I had been wanting to see Jiro Dreams of Sushi. The good feedback from critics in this case seemed to be a huge factor that despite neither of my interest in those things I still wanted to see the movie. Perhaps it's seeing people at a job that they really enjoy, and while it takes hard work and dedication it's possible to achieve something that you want to do in life.

Summary: Jiro Ono is an 85 year old sushi chef. His business lays at the bottom of an office building, the Ginza Tokio Subway Station. The movie chronicles the success that Ono has had so far from achieving one of the highest levels of achievement and feedback in restaurants and also landing a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records. It also shows how Jiro got into the job that he did, and how his passion for it has carried his success. Now that Jiro is 85 though it also shows how he is trying to pass his legacy on to his son, and his relationship in general with his apprentices and his other son who has his own sushi place.

Acting: While there isn't acting to say exactly in documentaries I think there are certain people who are more natural in front of the camera more so than others. Jiro is is very natural in front of the camera along with his sons and employees. Jiro seems to be excited and more than welcoming in letting David Gelb document a man who is popular yet unless you're a food fanatic you might not have heard of. Jiro has a humble nature about him as well, and any success he might feel is well deserved. He doesn't seem to be a guy who seeks the limelight nor does he ever stop trying to improve his knowledge and innovations with sushi even as he has gotten older. It's inspiring for those particularly hoping to make what they enjoy their dream.

Filming: The movie is shot in a really sleek and cool way. The shots almost seem like something out of a food magazine or book in order to show case the food that is served at the restaurant.  Even when there aren't close ups of the food just the depiction of the characters as they are speaking while interviewed or at work in the restaurant brings out color and a way that it is shot that brings you closer in to what the person is saying.

Plot: I like the way the movie slowly pulls us into Jiro's life. It first gives reasoning about why they've zoned in on this guy to film for a documentary. And while you may not enjoy sushi, you certainly see very quickly how much he has achieved in the industry that he is in. You then begin get to know the people that surround Jiro, but first you learn about what has made him the success he is, and what has made him a success is what many people lack. Besides passion for what he does he also has a lot of motivation to constantly improve week by week on what is his passion. He doesn't just do it and then stall out for a while, but he's constantly putting himself into his work. At 85, Jiro has been making sushi for 75 years. The guy has been doing the same work for 75 years and says he has never hated it. After learning a bit about Jiro we then move into what the future holds for him and his family, and the movie basically ends up being a reassurance for fans of his sushi that his son really is capable of continuing on the restaurant.

Jiro Dreams of Sushi is a well made documentary that has a lot of thought put into it. Everything feels covered satisfyingly in the hour and a half that the movie is on, and by the end even if you're not a sushi lover you are curious as to what makes his sushi so good that it's achieved the fame that it has. If you're planning on going to Japan to find out though you better at least book a month in advance.

Rating 8 of 10.

Jiro Dreams of Sushi (2011) on IMDb

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