Jiro Dreams Of Sushi is a documentary that introduces one of the greatest sushi chefs in the world. Despite serving his masterpieces out of a small unorthodox location Jiro has made a name for himself as the best. He did so by working hard, learning and falling in love with his craft, and basically dedicating his life to the art and putting everything else in second place. Even in his absence at the fish market the vendors that he has come to trust fear his disapproval, thus inspiring them to become artists in their field if only to serve this one master chef. The list goes on and on from person to person from field to field, all bowing to Jiro and striving to become the best they can be for him.
I like sushi. I can’t say that I absolutely love it, but I like it. Unfortunately my judgment in regards to sushi are simple and the documentary really is one that was designed for the sushi enthusiast. There is plenty in-between the lines about the differences from generation to generation in the workforce as well as a fair bit about pride and honor. In the end though I felt like the doc became a bit repetitive in some spots. The constant praise for Jiro, the constant mention that his eldest son may not be able to step out from his famous father’s shadow, and the music.
The soundtrack for the doc is all classical. The music kicks in when the documentary shifts into sushi crafting montages. Again, I like sushi, but to watch it being made in artsy shots with sleep inducing classical music was just a bit much for this simple guy. There was just something lacking in the documentary that I can’t quite place my finger on. Still, some will love the documentary and others, like me, will find it interesting, salivate over the delicious looking sushi, and move on with the ideology that if they can’t make it to Japan to try this world class sushi then what’s the purpose of getting excited about it. As always final judgment is yours.
PICTURE AND AUDIO QUALITY:
I read that director David Gelb began filming his documentary using a small DSLR camera and later moved up to the Red One when he was certain he would be able to make a proper documentary on Jiro Ono with Ono feeling comfortable. I read that before watching, which was stupid, but as hard as I kept a keen eye on the picture quality it looked pretty standard for a Blu-Ray format documentary. Color was beautiful for starters. From the baby blue paint of scattered buildings in a world that looked as if color and blandness were going head to head, to the high detail shots of tuna being sliced for preparation. As usually is the case in most documentaries you do have some artistic features of camera work that might result in a focus issue and softness but all together I had no complaints. It is what it is in this genre and for the most part it was good.
Audio is straight forward with an upfront dialogue package that has its minor hiccups. Dialogue can be tin sounding at times but only due to the sound environment and the distances between speakers in any one scene. It doesn’t really make much of a difference to me as the entire film was in Japanese with English subtitles. All I did was read along anyway. For those who do speak Japanese you might find issue here or there but nothing major. If anything it only adds to the character of the film giving you an inside feel.
~Deleted Scenes: Ten to be exact.
~Masters: Further introduction to the men who became masters in their craft thanks to their need to satisfy Jiro.
~Sushi Gallery: See all of Jiro’s creations.