The promises of depth and artistry subtly evident in the opening scenes of helmer Miwa Nishikawa’s “Sway” prove to be fleeting elements to basically an overlong courtroom trial drama. As in her debut feature “Wild Berries,” Nishikawa explores the disintegration of the family, here two brothers whose jealousies sneak up subconsciously and lead to a rift that shocks them both. Auds will be less stunned, checking watches and wondering why pic’s earlier, inventively composed shots have been ditched for long, distancing takes that rob involvement. Fests may call, but not many will be held sway.
Successful shutterbug Takeru (Joe Odagiri) journeys from Tokyo to the provinces for the anniversary of his mother’s death. Pleasant, shy brother Minoru (Teruyuki Kagawa) still lives with their father, working at the family gas station and unsuccessfully courting Chieko (Yoko Maki, “The Grudge”), who has no trouble succumbing to Takeru’s come-on. An outing to a hollow turns deadly when Chieko falls from a suspension bridge and Minoru is charged with murder, though Takeru tries to remember whether he saw something or not. Obviously metaphorical bridge can’t cover the gaps; tech credits are above standard.