-Based on the novel of the same name
-Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Cinematography.
Did You Know?
-Many of the extras in the Japanese internment camp scene were actual Japanese Americans who were sent to the camps in the 1940s
-In the novel, the name of the accused was Kabuo. But it was changed in the movie to Kazuo
-Ishmael never pronounces the love of his life's name right. He always says "Hat-sue" when in actuality it is pronounced "Ha-Tsu-E"
-Set in the fictitious town of San Piedro Island, near Puget Sound in Washington State in 1950, a Japanese American war hero named Kazuo Miyamoto(Rick Yune) gets accused of the murder of a local fisherman named Carl Heine, a white fisherman. This trial goes down in post WWII America, when hatred towards Japanese was still pretty high. Covering the case is Ishmael Chambers(Ethan Hawke), in charge of the town's one man newspaper, the San Piedro Review. He was a WWII veteran who lost an arm fighting the Japanese in the Battle of Tarawa. Ishmael fights with feelings of attraction to Kazuo's wife Hatsue(Youki Kudoh) and his conscience, suspecting Kazuo might be innocent
-At the prosection are the town sheriff, Art Moran(Richard Jenkins), and prosecutor Alvin Hooks(James Rebhorn). Also present is the defense attorney Nels Gudmundsson(Max von Sydow). The underlying, but obviously visible theme here is prejudice. Witnesses are brought forward, such as Etta Heine(Celia Weston), Carl's mother, all accusing Kazuo of the murder for racial and personal reasons. Etta is shown as the stereotypical atnti-Japanese woman; she represents part of America during WWII. What they fail to realize is that Kazuo is a decorated member of the 442 Regimental Combat Team(made up of mostly Japanese American men). He experiences prejudice every day because of his Asian ethnicity. But by the same reasons, Etta, who is German American, could be blamed for Nazi war crimes