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Living | Review

★★★★★

Bill Nighy really does give the performance of his career in Living. This being the Oliver Hermanus directed adaptation of 1951 Kurosawa classic Ikiru, which was itself drawn from Tolstoy novella ‘The Death of Ivan Ilyich’. The pedigree of pen continues here, with none other than Kazuo Ishiguro behind the script. It’s a surprisingly easy segue from the Japanese mannerisms of Kurosawa’s film to the particularly British sensibilities of Hermanus’ 1950s setting. Visually, this is achieved via truncated period ratios, a fine grain and gorgeous attention to detail. Though melancholia haunts proceedings, it’s not hard to find reservoirs of joy in the film’s performances and faith in the power of an individual to make change happen. The final shot, though borrowed, is perfection.

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