Snow Falling on Cedars was rather good. The story line follows the book well, and Ishmael’s (Ethan Hawke) maddeningly obsessive fixation on Hatsue (Youki Kudoh) was faithfully documented. However, I might not have enjoyed it if I hadn’t read the book.
The film had a kind of documentary feel to it: a documentary about a murder trial, about the environment in the Washington archipelago, particularly the winter environment, about adolescent love, and about racism.
The best thing about the film was the cinematography, done with fantastic attention to artistry.