Film Review: Wood Job!

By Joy Chiang Ling

Wood Job! is a coming-of-age drama written and directed by Shinobu Yaguchi. It follows Yuki Hirano (Shota Sometani), a city boy who, upon failing his university entrance exam, decides to pursue a job in forestry after finding a promotional leaflet with an attractive woman on its cover. The woman turns out to be Naoki Ishii (Masami Nagasawa), a teacher at a school in a secluded mountain village. There, Yuki works under the burly lumberjack, Yoki Iida (Hideaki Ito) and overcomes many challenges as he tries to adjust to life in rural Japan.

One of the strongest points of the film is its character development. At first glance, Yuki is a lazy, incompetent juvenile delinquent who grows into a responsible young adult, largely in thanks to his superior, Yoki Iida, whose tough personality helps whip Yuki into shape. Iida also undergoes a change. Though brutish initially, Iida eventually softens up but manages to maintain some of his admirable and quirky tough-guy qualities. What results are two highly likeable characters whose unorthodox friendship will likely leave a lasting impression on viewers.

The film also provides stunning footage of the Japanese landscape. Massive trees, mountains and fields are captured in order to awe both the viewers and the protagonist. The forestry industry is also described in some detail, giving viewers insight into a notoriously dangerous profession. The director has clearly put a lot of time and effort into making the story believable, while maintaining its charm, creativity and humor.

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