Shoplifters ★★★

Definitely stronger in its first two-thirds, in which it not only deploys deft characterizations, largely though action, but also features some thoroughly convincing ensemble acting scenes. These early bits, mostly taking place in a cramped hovel, really do create the sense that the cast is a makeshift family. When the walls inevitably come tumbling down, Kore-eda begins to indulge in his worst instincts, turning the crisis into a series of tearjerker moments that mostly left me cold.