The Village review: Flailing drama suffers from flawed execution

Netflix’s Japanese thriller drama, The Village follows Yuu, a struggling youngster in a remote village confronting his past contending a most contemptuous environment.


Yuu toils away at the Kamon village’s waste processing facility as a recycler, working hard to pay off the debt he incurred from a shady guy who also lent his mother 3 million yen.

The guy runs an illegal dumping operation where toxic waste is buried at the site, and most of the officials, including the Mayor are aware and part of the operation. Mayor’s son Toru bullies Yuu incessantly.

When Yuu’s childhood friend Misaki returns to the village, she turns his life around and he learns to smile again. Toru, jealous of Yuu getting Misaki’s attention and love, tries to rape her, but Yuu stops him. Toru beats him but before he can inflict greater damage, Misaki kills him.

The two then bury his body at the dumping site and their life continues on an upswing until Yuu has to slowly become one of the corrupt ones and do coverups for their deeds. When he inadvertently leads to Misaki’s brother’s accident, he realizes what must be done.

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He meets the mayor who already knows he and Misaki killed his son, but he’s fine with it as long as Yuu does his bidding and helps throw all the blame upon Misaki. An enraged Yuu kills the mayor and The Village rolls the credits shortly after that.


Ryusei Yokohama plays Yuu, a character suffering from only sorrow and grief, with great conviction, and even with the rigid material he’s given, he makes the most out of it all.

Haru Kuroki plays Misaki with just as great a fervor as Yokohama, etching out the character’s pain and grief beautifully.

Shidô Nakamura plays Kokichi Ohashi, but his performance seems massively weighed down by the lack of substance, even as he tries his best.

Wataru Ichinose is great as Toru and portrays the bully such that it’s incredibly easy to hate him right off the bat.


There are a lot of strong themes that the film works with and there are moments that inspire true emotions. The infection of a green world that modernity often spreads is depicted effectively in many instances throughout the runtime.

There are also themes pertaining to the disparity of wealth and financial security between the youth and the elder people. There’s also a great running theme that entails the corruption of people as they become complicit in the greedy capitalist endeavors, no matter what damage it inflicts upon nature and the populace.


At over 2 hours of runtime, The Village is just too long and the supposed slow-burn takes forever to reveal the past that haunts the protagonist, which is really unnecessary.

Where it could have contended with the pollution and the dangers of apathetic modernity head-on, it instead takes a muddled, symbolic route and tacitly mentions that the interpretation of it all is depended on each individual.

The film doesn’t stick to the themes it sets out to expand and at the end, there are just too many loose ends and things concluding with unsatisfying turns.


The Village tackles a number of resonant themes and issues but does so in a manner most murky and flawed, as the actors try their best to make do with the feeble material they’re handed. The plot drags on for far too long and concludes things with a lot to be desired.

The Village
The Village review: Flailing drama suffers from flawed execution 1

Director: Michihito Fujii

Date Created: 2023-06-16 12:30

Editor's Rating:

Also Read: The Village summary and ending explained