Run time: 102 mins
Bill Nighy is exceptional in this poignant reimagining of Kurosawa’s 1952 classic Ikiru.
In 1953 London, Mr. Williams runs the public works office in London’s County Hall with a team of loyal, intimidated bureaucrats. Like other departments, he mainly just pushes work along for someone else to deal with. Diagnosed with terminal cancer, he can’t bring himself to tell either his colleagues or his son and daughter-in-law, whom he has lived with since his wife died. Escaping to the seaside, a stranger provides an epiphany: Williams should begin living in whatever time he has left, perhaps creating a lasting legacy in the process.
A smart, delicate script by Kazuo Ishiguro complements a wonderful if unusually beefy performance from Nighy who is able to bring some powerfully emotional angles to the stiff-upper-lip Williams, while also adding moments of fragility and warm wit.
Packed with vivid themes that are understated to perfection, this is a film that rewards close attention with some powerful insights. What emerges is a bracing reminder to engage with life every day, and to avoid letting society’s rules and restrictions lead to lingering regrets.