( Reaction Paper )
As soon as I began watching the film, I realized that it is an American re-telling. It’s set in the U.S., and all the characters are typical Americans. I guess that’s not important. Love and devotion transcend international boundaries and cultural differences, since the real setting is Japan.
Gere plays a college professor who finds a lost puppy wondering around a train station. When he can’t find the pup’s owner, he winds up keeping the dog. The professor’s Japanese pal identifies the puppy as an Akita and explains pertinent facts about the breed. He also suggests a name for the pooch – Hachiko, or Hachi, for short.
Hachi and the professor form an extremely strong bond. Every morning, Hachi walks to the terminal with its owner, and every afternoon at five, the dog returns to wait for the professor.
One day the professor doesn’t return from work. Hachi waits for hours, until the professor’s daughter comes to take it home.
Every day for ten long years, Hachi returns to the station in anticipation of its master’s arrival at the train station. Vendors and employees at the terminal feed Hachi, but the dog never accepts another master. Hachi finally dies at the terminal, still waiting for his beloved master.
My daughter told me to have some Kleenex on hand for the flick, but I scoffed at her warning. I knew the story, so I didn’t think I would cry. Actually, I was somewhat disappointed with the first part of the movie. It was pretty slow in places, and I guess I wanted to see more interaction between man and dog.
The ending, however, took me by surprise. It ended the way I knew it would, but the way the movie handled it was extremely poignant. It wasn’t so much sad as it was touching, in a bittersweet sort of way.
I think one problem with the film is how it will affect the viewing public. It portrays Akitas as big loveable teddy bears, even to total strangers. The typical Akita isn’t like this. Most are very wary...