During World War II, the Japanese government commissions a young scientist named Shu to research the theory of “splitting the atom” in order to develop a bomb that could change the course of the war. As Shu feels the pressure to complete his mission from the safety of his lab, his brother Hiroyuki fights on the front lines. Moreover, their best friend Setsu struggles with her feelings for them as the war gradually tears them and their nation apart. By the end, Shu has to choose between his devotion to science, his country, and his sense of humanity.
GIFT OF FIRE is an alternative addition to the number of stories told in cinema about the most devastating conflicts of the 20th century, told from the perspectives of civilians and scientists with a particularly complicated relationship to the subject of inquiry. Based on the actual historical events of Japan’s own involvement in the nuclear arms race at that time, it focuses on the lives of three young people at the core of the drama, blending the romanticism of scientific exploration and the moral conundrums that may emerge in the process as well.