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Shoplifters (2018)

Shoplifters is the kind of crime story that I love. Not everything needs to be a serious mob tale or a caustic lesson about psychos tearing apart the land. Sometimes, movies can tackle the small crimes that litter a life. Whether it’s shoplifting, direct fraud or quick grabs…these are the crimes that dominate modern existence. By focusing on a tale in Japan, I hoped that its lessons could be directly removed enough to make Americans think.

It’s odd seeing a real crime film about the desperation of poverty being shown in Japan. I know that the country’s Depression in the 00s was quite severe and hampered a lot of their industry. But, most people never paint Japan with that extreme poverty brush. However, they do know how to nail down a domestic drama about families pushed to the edge. In that, the film blows everything else out of the water…even when it gets into soap opera territory.

What made the film stand out for me is when things go south for the lead family, their inability to think above their station is realistic. Seeing panic inform plans and then lead to catastrophic consequences is something that is missing from modern cinema. An American version would go out of its way to give the family an out. The need to have a happy ending is so played out. Keep it real.

Shoplifters is still kicking around the arthouse circuit. It will appear on DVD and Digital the first week of February.


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