Think of Eureka as the anti Mummy Returns. Shinji Aoyama’s austere film, a frequent festival circuit selection, is black and white, three and a half hours long, in Japanese with subtitles, and slow — sometimes maddeningly, soporifically so. But the very process of tuning in and out the way one does while looking out the window of a moving vehicle enhances the ”aha! Eureka!” moviegoing experience of this windblown drama. After all, Eureka is about a road trip, during which a young brother and sister who have survived a violent bus hijacking ride the same bus through the countryside, steered by the only other survivor, the bus driver (Koji Yakusho from The Eel and Shall We Dance?).
Shocked by trauma into taciturn gloom — the children are struck mute — the threesome embark on a journey of healing. And it’s a long and winding road indeed. Under the circumstances, the very un-Western style middle- and long-shot camera perspectives favored by Aoyama are quietly apt: They integrate changing emotions with rooted natural landscapes, comforting three hurting humans by placing them gently within the big picture. B+