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FilmsAsia: Asian film reviews
Soh Yun-Huei
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   Quill  



 

Quill

Reviewed by Soh Yun-Huei

Director: Sai Yoichi
Writing Credits: Akimoto Ryohei, Ishiguro Kengo, Maruyama Shoichi, Nakamura Yoshihiro
Cast: Kobayashi Kaoru, Shiina Kippei, Kagawa Teruyuki, Toda Keiko
Genre: Drama
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Year Released: 2004
Runtime: 100 min
Rating: **½ (out of four stars)

One wonders why this film made so much money in Hong Kong – it’s the life story about a Labrador called Quill, but to be brutally honest it’s also just that. There isn’t really anything particularly of note in Quill’s life – he grows up to be a Seeing Eye dog, and a pretty good one at that, and then he dies of old age. Of course, the dog is indeed a very cute and obedient dog (actually 4 – different dogs played Quill in different stages of its life), and director Yoichi Sai does not make the movie too melodramatic, choosing instead to present the story in a very straightforward, no-nonsense manner, excepting one sequence which features a dream that Quill has about his squeaky toy.

Based on a true story, the most engaging story hook in Quill is how he gradually finds acceptance with his eventual owner, who at first is extremely resistant to the idea of a dog guiding his movements, but later finds out just how useful a dog can be. The bond between man and dog also strengthens to the point where Quill becomes more like a family friend than an animal, and the movie tugs gently at the heartstrings when we find out that the owner may not last as long as the dog. It’s inexplicable to me, however, that some critics have chosen to label the movie as a tearjerker – although the film is sporadically touching, it presents itself more as a documentary than anything else. To call it a tearjerker is somewhat of a misnomer, but some audiences will indeed leave the cinema with moist eyes.

Final Word: If you’re a dog or animal lover, Quill is right up your alley – it may not be the most interesting film around, but it will satisfy the desire of seeing cute and smart animals on the big screen.