2 stars (out of 4)
Based on the true story in which a British transport plane made an emergency landing on the shores of Sado Island in early 1946. It had only been a few months since the end of WWII and the Japanese people were still scarred from their losses during the war. The residents had to overcome their fears and misgivings and find it in their hearts to help the stranded pilots.
First, I’ll state my problems with the film. It had possibly the worst subtitling work I have ever seen on the big screen. The translations were often excessively literal, frequently not even in proper sentences. There was at least one glaring spelling error, that I remember; and by the second half of the film, I was challenging myself to improve on some of the dialogue by rewriting the lines in my head.
The staging and the mannerisms of the actors were more befitting of a live theatrical production than a feature film. The pauses during the delivery of lines were noticeably unnatural. And don’t get me started on the overacting. One guy was hamming it up as if he were in a yakuza comedy, not in the completely sombre affair which was FLY, DAKOTA, FLY. Plus, I almost laughed out loud when another character just suddenly turned evil.
Production issues aside, the actual story was a worthwhile one. It was a heartwarming tale, somehow very Japanese in the way it preached tolerance and promoted working together to help others while bettering yourself in the process.