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Shoplifters (2018) Review

A family of small-time crooks take in a child they find outside in the cold.


Shoplifters is a beautifully crafted movie with a production design that emphasizes the world that the characters are in to make social commentary, Hirokazu Korreeda direction in this movie to create a small world with large scale precautions and bring out performances that feel so genuine is a really refreshing and makes this film feel like it has been very carefully crafted.




Shoplifters story is slightly unconventional as with most movies you wait till 20 minutes until the ‘hook’ occurs. However, in Shoplifters it feels like it happens within the first 5 minutes with Osamu, played by Lily Franky and Shota by Jyo Kairi, when they find a young girl, Yuri (Miyu Sasaki) out in the cold. But don’t be fooled, when the ‘hook’ does kick in at around half an hour the little girl is reported missing, the story really does begin.

The family is established well within this story with every character being extremely different and the relationships between them all work out then rather create tension creates a very home-like feel where the family loves one another and they do everything for each other. The one thing that they do all have in common though is theft and in this particular movie, shoplifting.


The beginning of this movie establishes that Osamu and Shota are the shoplifters which we eventually find out that Osamu has taught Shota how to do this skill. It seems weird to think of shoplifting as a skill but in this movie, it is as it is the only thing that Osamu knows what to teach him.


We enter a new world with Koreeda in a world where society views probably most actions as frowned upon, we see that to this family the actions are completely justifiable and are done out of empathy. Kidnapping is seen as an attempt to look after a young girl left in the cold, to then find out that she has potentially been abused and then when she wets the bed. Osamu breaks and thinks they need to look after her.


The perspective of this movie is very uplifting and puts the audience in a position where they know what is happening is wrong but makes us feel like we have a higher power that the police just simply don’t understand the police see it as black and white but we have been opened up to all the grey areas and can see the tragedy of their everyday lives.


The cinematography is very warm and makes you feel at home. The colour palette combined with the costumes creates this beautiful blue and white spectrum of colour and anything else feels almost like a world that the family can come close to but cannot reach no matter how much they try.

This film is very movie and I think its hard to not like it unless you don’t like foreign films.


I rate this movie a very solid 4/5.

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