The Wind Rises

Film Review by Josh Slater-Williams | 05 May 2014
  • The Wind Rises
Film title: The Wind Rises
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Starring: (English dub) Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Stanley Tucci, Mandy Patinkin, Martin Short, Mae Whitman, Werner Herzog, Jennifer Grey, William H. Macy
Release date: 9 May
Certificate: PG

From set-pieces with airborne dragons and gunships to having a literal flying pig as a protagonist, soaring into the sky has always been a recurring interest of master animator Hayao Miyazaki. Fittingly, his supposed swan song as a director, The Wind Rises, concerns itself with an aviation pioneer. The least overtly fantastical of his films, it’s a semi-fictionalised biopic of Jiro Horikoshi, chief engineer of key Japanese fighter plane designs in the 1930s.

These planes would go on to be used by Japan during World War II, but to read Miyazaki’s avoidance of explicitly addressing this, until a nod in the coda, as some flattering endorsement of the machines’ legacy is to wildly misinterpret. Historical implications are pervasive throughout as bittersweet subtext, as Jiro’s pure devotion to innovation and inspiration leaves him naïvely blind to the consequences, both global and immediately personal, of how his passions are co-opted by other forces. The desecration of beautiful dreams is a ghost always lurking. [Josh Slater-Williams]

The Wind Rises is released 9 May through StudioCanal, and will screen in both Japanese language and English language versions at select UK venues