Monday, 12 November 2012


Abandoned as a child and brought up by his grandparents Yuichi is a construction worker who has lived his entire life in a dreary fishing village. With no friends, he spends his days working and looking after his grandparents, his only pleasure in life is his car. Using an Internet dating service he meets Mitsuyo who also lives a monotonous life pacing between the men’s clothing store where she works and the apartment where she lives with her sister. When these two lonely people meet they are immediately attracted to one another. But Yuichi has a secret he’s hoping to keep from Mitsuyo: Yuichi is the one of two suspects connected to the killing of a young woman.

Yuichi Shimizu

Mitsuyo Magome.
This Japanese crime noir boasts a talented cast that succeeds in emphasizing the emotional power of a very human story.  Satoshi Tsumabuki, bass player and lead singer with the Japanese rock band Basking Lite, has to pull out all the stops to play sympathetic working class loner Yuichi Shimizu, a role he admits was very challenging and one for which he was awarded the Japanese Academy Award for Best Actor. TV and film actress Eli Fukatsu also won a Best Actress Award for her portrayal of Mitsuyo Magome, the Bonnie to Yuichi Clyde. The attractive but flighty Yoshino Ishibashi, an insurance saleswomen and the victim, is played by Love Exposure (2008) star Hikari Mitsushima. The loss of his daughter has a terrible effect on Yoshio Ishibashi played with smoldering intensity by well-known Japanese actor Akira Emoto. Yuichi’s grandmother is racked with guilt that she may have raised a murderer, 69 year old Kiki Kirin who you may have seen in Still Walking (2008)steals every scene she appears in. The final piece in this affecting jigsaw is the second suspect an arrogant college student Keigo Masuo that’s full of his own self-importance played by Masaki Okada (Confessions 2010).

Yuichi grandmother.

The victims father.

In this well put together film we slowly discover the background of the suspects and the victim and what led up to the murder and how it affected members of their families. A sad and poignant movie about youth and loneliness that raises the question of who is the real Villain (2010) and consequently who are the real victims something that each individual viewer can answer for themselves. Based on a best selling novel by Shuichi Yoshida, who was also involved with the screenplay, it was translated into English to coincide with the release of the movie. Directed by Lee Sang-il with a outstanding musical soundtrack by Joe Hisaishi best known for Departures (2008).
Yoshino the murder victim.

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