It is a wonder to me that this film directed by Lasse Hallstrom (Chocolat, The Cider House Rules) and starring marketable actors like Richard Gere and Joan Allen did not play in the cinema here. It is well done and about a subject (the bond between humans and dogs) that everyone loves. Sometimes what makes it to the multi-plex and what doesn't makes me scratch my head.
Professor Parker Wilson (Richard Gere – Chicago, An Officer and a Gentleman) is a well-respected music teacher who has a way of engaging everyone with his love for music. One day after work he gets off the train to find an Akita puppy who seems to be lost or abandoned. Not knowing what to do with the puppy and not wanting to bring it to the pound, Parker brings the dog home with him. Now, he does this despite the fact that he knows his wife Cate (Joan Allen – The Bourne Supremacy, Georgia O'Keeffe) will not be happy. Cate is hesitant as they had a dog previously and the death of the dog was devastating to the entire family – especially Parker.
No one claims the dog and so Hachi becomes a part of the Wilson household. Despite Cate's misgivings the dog they now call Hachi (because of the Japanese word written on his collar) has wormed his way into everyone's hearts. Hachi has become especially attached to Parker. Every day Hachi goes with Parker to the train to see him off to work and every evening he meets him at the train. The two are inseparable.
Suddenly and tragically Parker has a heart attack while teaching and passes away. Not really aware of what has happened Hachi loyally waits for his friend at the train station that night. Hachi is upset when Parker never shows. Loyal to the end Hachi returns to the train station day after day no matter the weather waiting for his master to come home. This continues on for nine years without fail. Hachi's devotion to his master touches the entire community.
Moving at a slow pace recreating the relationship between this man and dog Hallstrom treats this almost like a documentary. There are moments of drama and comedy in the film, but mostly it tries to stay true to the relationship and this incredible dog. The emotional build up is guaranteed to get you in the end.
-A Bond of Loyalty – The Making of Hachi: A Dog's Tale
-Previews of Open Season 3, Planet 51, Facing the Giants, Ice Castles, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, and The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep