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QUILL (Japan)

Director: Yoichi Sai
Starring: Kaoru Kobayashi, Kippei Shiina, Teruyuki Kagawa, Shinobu Terajima
RunTime: 1 hr 40 mins
Released By: Shaw & Festive Films
Rating: G

Opening Day: 19 August 2004


One morning in June, five Labrador Retriever puppies are born. One puppy is easily identifiable from the rest as he has a birthmark on his side, which resembles a bird spreading its wings. The owner names it Jonathan and hopes to train the puppies into guide dogs...

As it is not easy to train puppies into guide dogs, their owner approaches guide dog trainer Satoshi Tawada persistently, who reluctantly agrees to take in one puppy. He chooses the easy-going Jonathan, as fast-reacting and emotionally expressive dogs are not suitable to work as guide dogs.

Soon, Jonathan is taken to the Nii household, where Isamu and his wife, Mitsuko volunteer to raise the young pups before they can train into guide dogs. Upon reaching the Niis, Jonathan receives the new name "Quill" after his "bird wings" birthmark on his side.

Quill grows up to be a gentle and lovely pup, though mischievous at times, the Niis adore him. Soon, Quill reaches his first birthday which is also the last day that he is in the care of the Niis. This day marks the start of his training as a guide dog with Tawada and also his partnership with Mitsuru Watanabe, a visually-handicapped and stubborn man, who does not believe in guide dogs... Can Quill bring him love and warmth?

Movie Review:

Ever wish for a friend who will always stand by you during good and bad times? Quill, the guide dog is the answer.

Born together with four other Labrador Retriever puppies, Quill is unique from the rest, bearing a birthmark on his side that resembles a bird spreading its wings. Though inattentive and unenthusiastic at times, Quill's gentle and obedient character delighted many including a visually handicapped man, who stubbornly been rejecting the use of guide dogs.

The life of Quill revolved around getting acquainted and up close and personal with this blind man and his family. In spite of being ill-treated on many occasions, Quill still conscientiously serves and wait upon the blind man with absolute loyalty. This could have ignited the emotions of the audience. But the monotony script and the sluggish-pace of the movie unfortunately served the movie with great injustice. The supposedly tears-driven part where Quill and his blind owner were separated was only briefly captured without injection of any theatrical drama. Even with award winning director, Yoichi Sai behind the camera, the portrayal on the theme like "celebrating life" and "friends forever" was paper-thin.

In spite of the numerous short-coming of the movie, it still managed to put across a basic yet touching message: In the World of darkness, Quill had indeed brought in the sunshine. Recommended to all dog lovers.

Movie Rating:

Review by Leosen Teo


. 10 Promises to My Dog (2008)

. The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep (2007)

. Hearty Paws (2006)

. Helen the Baby Fox (2006)

  Publicity Stills of "Quill" (Courtesy from Shaw)

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