Netflix’s 2023 film, The Village, directed by Michihito Fujii, starts on a promising note and makes us believe that we are going to witness a story that has some authentic native flavors and a lot of emotions and depth to add to the scheme of things. Though the beginning of The Village is quite intriguing, and it keeps you hooked for a good hour or so, it soon fizzles out and transforms into quite an underwhelming affair. The problem with the film is that, despite some noteworthy performances, the twists and turns that it incorporates do not have any sort of reasoning or explanation behind them. The strangest thing happens when the protagonist goes through a transformation in a matter of seconds, and in spite of being ostracized by society for the longest time, he overnight gets all the love and affection.
We don’t know if the editor is to blame here or if the writing itself was weak, but all in all, the film failed to impact us in any manner and left us confused about the intentions of the director. There are many subplots in The Village, and the makers weren’t able to decide which one was their main conflict. They kept on oscillating from one plot to another, and in the end, neither the plots nor the characters were fleshed out properly. So, let’s find out what was happening in the Kamon-mura village and if our protagonist is able to overcome the obstacles in his life.
‘The Village’ Plot Summary: The Story Of Yu And Misaki
Yu Katayama’s father died in an accident ten years ago, and that day, his life completely changed. His mother became an alcoholic, and she used to gamble and waste all the money that Yu used to give her. It felt like Yu had the burden of the entire world on his shoulders, but he never complained. Somewhere he believed that he deserved that kind of fate, and that is why he went about his business without uttering a word. He was looked down upon by society, and people refrained from talking to him. He had no friends in his workplace either, and he was often bullied and beaten by his colleagues.
There were a few sadistic people like Toru, who was the son of Shusaku Ohashi, who liked causing unnecessary trouble and making sure that Yu didn’t have a single moment where he could breathe peacefully. Yu didn’t meet anybody; he didn’t go anywhere, and he had started feeling that there was no hope left. He had stopped dreaming altogether, but then one day, someone came back to the village and not only uplifted his morale but changed his perspective on life forever. Misaki Nakai was Yu’s childhood friend who worked in Tokyo. She had some mental health issues which we are not told about and all we know is that she decided to move back to Kamon-mura. Misaki was disheartened when she saw Yu in such a state.
Yu always had the potential to do something big in life, but unfortunately, he had become a victim of the circumstances. Misaki made it her mission to bring back the old Yu, the one she knew and loved. She started giving him new responsibilities at work, and though Yu was hesitant at first, he also realized that Misaki was not going to let him be in such a deplorable state. She took Yu to watch a traditional Japanese drama called Noh. She wanted Yu to wake up from his slumber and realize his true potential. Misaki, Yu and most of the people in that area worked in the waste management plant, which was headed by Shusaku Ohashi. Because all the workers were from the same village, they knew each other from childhood.
Misaki proposed a plan where she wanted schools to organize visits to their plant so that the children would get to know about the project and how they wanted to clean the environment. She wanted Yu to be the guide, and though she knew that he didn’t utter more than a word or two in the entire day, there was a time when he used to love public speaking. Yu told her not to give him that responsibility, but Misaki didn’t agree, and finally, Yu gave in. That one move by Misaki changed Yu’s life forever. Overnight, he had a positive outlook on life, and he was a changed man. We still do not understand how that transition happened so quickly, and it seemed like the director forgot to add a couple of sequences in between. Anyway, the fact is that Yu was oozing positivity, and it didn’t seem like he had been going through such a rough patch in his life recently.
How Did Toru Die?
Toru had liked Misaki for a very long time, and now that she had come back to the village, he wished that he could have something with her. But Misaki liked Yu because she loved the kind of person he was. He was empathetic and kind, whereas Toru not only misused his privilege but was a bully who had made Yu’s life a living hell. Toru didn’t like it when Misaki gave Yu’s name for heading the new initiatives that they were going to start. Yu was not only the guide for the children who came to the plant, but he was also the main spokesperson in the TV program that they were doing to spread awareness about their work.
Toru started becoming jealous of Yu over a period of time, and he felt even more agitated because of Misaki. We don’t understand how Toru is shown to be so helpless when the head of the entire facility was his father. We didn’t understand why Shusaku Ohashi favored Yu and Misaki so much and didn’t believe in the capabilities of his own son. The Village leaves it up to us to speculate about what could have happened between them in the past that caused such a huge rift between them. There are scenes where Senior Ohashi scorns his son, but that is never enough to establish what he felt for him.
One day, Toru decided that he had had enough and that he wanted to take what was “rightfully his.” He went to Misaki’s house and started molesting her. Yu arrived just at the right time, but he was no match for a huge man like Toru. They started fighting, and Toru threw some brutal punches at Yu, severely injuring him in the process. There came a point where Misaki thought that he was going to kill Yu, and that’s when she stabbed Toru from behind. Yu and Misaki buried his body where the garbage was dumped inside the waste management facility. Nobody knew about this for the longest time, and they considered that Toru had gone missing. Shusaku Ohashi also did not show any interest in looking for his son, and in fact, he was more than happy that he didn’t have to deal with his nuisance, at least for some time.
‘The Village’ Ending Explained: What Had Happened To Yu’s Father?
Keiichi Nakai, Misaki’s brother, found that a lot of biohazardous waste was buried at the landfill. He reported it to Kokichi Ohashi, who caught the perpetrators red-handed when he conducted a police raid of the facility. The thing was that Masaru Maruoka, who headed these illegal activities, employed a lot of people under him, and Yu was one of them. Even Shusaku Ohashi knew about it, but the companies probably gave him a lot of black money, and that is why he never reported anything. Once the law enforcement authorities started digging the area, they found the dead body of Toru buried there. They took his mobile phone and laptop into custody and found a lot of incriminating evidence in it. They found Yu’s picture that had been taken by Toru back in the day when he was helping Maruoka bury his hazardous waste in the landfill. The laptop also had the video of Toru molesting Misaki, with Yu’s voice being heard in the background.
We got to know that ten years ago, a lot of villagers protested the installation of this waste management plant, and their protest was being led by Yu’s father. Though it was claimed by the authorities that Yu’s father had killed an official and then committed suicide by setting the entire house on fire, it was probably not the truth. We believe that it was Shusaku Ohashi who killed the officer and then framed Yu’s father, so that he could get probable cause. Kokichi had an idea about it, and that is why he left the village and settled in some other town. Shusaku’s mother also knew about the sins of her son, and she believed that he would have to repent his actions one day.
The Village’s ending brought another baseless twist, where a brief confrontation with Shusaku Ohashi led to Yu burning down his house and killing him. He set the house on fire and left. Kokichi saw him coming out of the house, but he didn’t do anything, as he probably knew what had happened.
For a fleeting moment, Yu actually believed that his life would get back on track, but that was an empty dream that shattered the moment he opened his eyes. Yu had imagined his life with Misaki, but he realized that maybe that was also a dream that would never come true. We believe that Yu stayed in the Village, as he knew that the people needed him more than ever. Though Yu had taken revenge for his father’s death, he realized that life would never be the same again.