Sandome no Satsujin (2017)

vt The Third Murder
Japan / 125 minutes / color / Amuse, FILM, Fuji TV, GAGA, Gyaga Dir & Scr: Hirokazu Koreeda  Pr: Kaoru Matsuzaki, Hijiri Taguchi Cine: Mikiya Takimoto Cast: Masaharu Fukuyama, Kôji Yakusho, Suzu Hirose, Shinnosuke Mitsushima, Mikako Ichikawa, Izumi Matsuoka, Isao Hashizume, Hajime Inoue, Aju Makita, Yuki Saitô, Kôtarô Yoshida.

A movie that takes the form of a cross between a neonoir and a legal drama, but goes in a rather different direction to become a meditation on the nature of truth—a meditation that’s arguably especially needed in an era when we’re bombarded daily by the purveyors of “alternative facts.”

Misumi Takashi (Yakusho) murders his boss, Yamanaka Mizue (uncredited), down by the river side, beating him repeatedly over the head with a wrench, then sets the body on fire. He makes no real effort to evade arrest for the crime, and faces the death penalty.

Mikako Ichikawa as the prosecutor, Sasabara Itsuki.

By the time hotshot lawyer Shigemori (Fukuyama) is called in to conduct Misumi’s defense, Misumi has already Continue reading

Tantei Wa Bar ni Iru (2011)

vt The Detective is in the Bar; vt Phone Call to the Bar
Japan / 126 minutes / color / Toei Dir: Hajime Hashimoto Pr: Yasushi Suto Scr: Yasushi Suto, Ryota Kosawa Story: Bar ni Kakatte Kita Denwa (1996) by Naomi Azuma Cine: Kazunari Tanaka Cast: Yo Oizumi, Ryuhei Matsuda, Koyuki, Toshiyuki Nishida, Masanobu Takashima, Tomorowo Taguchi, Ikuji Nakamura, Yoshiki Arizono, Yutaka Matsushige, Yasukaze Motomiya, Renji Ishibashi, Kazuki Namioka, Keiko Takeshita, Shin’ichi Miyazaki, Mayumi Shintani.

Tantei Wa Bar ni Iru - 0b opener

A young, unorthodox PI (Oizumi), known here only as The Detective, operates out of a basement bar in Sapporo, in the Susukino region of Hokkaido Japan: the Keller Ohata Bar, which seems never to have any customers except himself and his sidekick Takada (Matsuda), a near-narcoleptic university technician for the day job but a crack karate exponent when called for. Serving them is a genteel, smiling barman (Miyazaki).

Tantei Wa Bar ni Iru - 1 Detective on way to see Minami

The Detective (Yo Oizumi) preparing to boldly go.

One night, at a hotel rendezvous with closeted gay journalist Matsuo (Taguchi), for whom he has been retrieving some incriminating photographs, The Detective sets eyes on the businessman Toshio Kirishima (Nishida) and his beautiful, much younger and extremely charming wife Saori (Koyuki), who’ve been hosting a party in the same hotel. As the Kirishimas leave, later that evening, Saori goes back for something forgotten; walking to the car, Toshio sees a young woman being sexually assaulted, wades in against her attackers, and is beaten to death. By all accounts this gallantry was typical of him—he was that rarity: a kind, principled corporate head.

Tantei Wa Bar ni Iru - 2 Saori visits kerbside memorial of Toshio

Saori (Koyuki) visits the kerbside memorial of her murdered husband Toshio.

The Detective barely hears about the murder, being up to his eyes in other cases—notably one for the elderly, quasi-retired gang boss Aida (Matsushige), who has hired him to keep an eye on his Continue reading