This movie definitely is one of the better crime movies I have seen in the past few years. It's not necessarily the solid but overall not too creative story that makes this movie so great but especially the intriguing characters and the flawless acting. Every actor has its own strong charisma but I definitely must point out the play of Hiroshi Abe. By playing a down to earth and quite smart cop with some familiar issues, his acting feels very honest and natural. It feels as if he would simply be himself instead of playing a character of a movie and that's a very strong point in my humble opinion.
Let's talk a little bit about the story. We witness the death of an old and rich chef on a Japanese enterprise who collapses on the bridge under the sign of two kirins. The old man has been stabbed in a tunnel but instead of looking for help, he desperately tried to make it to the kirin statues. It turns soon out that he has been robbed out prior to his death. The robber is identified by the police after having cold his girlfriend and tries to flee. After a short fight, he gets hit by a truck and falls in a coma. Even though evidences seem to make clear that the unconscious thief has killed the old man, the main investigator and his assistant follow different options. They soon find out that the old man's family didn't know much about him. What did the old man do in different sections of Tokyo during the afternoons instead of being in his bureau or his factories? This questions is the key to a well developed answer in a story with a few intriguing turns even though one can predict the movie's ending after about two third of its running time.
The story is solid but it's really the emotional acting that makes this flick stand out. Without the realistic play of main and supporting actors, this movie would have only been solid and got two points less from me. The fact that this movie is very human and focuses on emotional relationships by touching topics such as betrayal and forgiveness, despair and hope as well as love and different family issues adds a lot of depth to the film. The movie is in fact at least as close to a drama as it is to a classic crime flick. The final sequences even put tears in my eyes and felt very philosophical and positive about life. This is the kind of movie that has a deeper message to transmit and that is not only about entertainment.
Anybody who likes this kind of emotional and philosophical depth in crime movies should definitely pick up this film. It's way better than all those dark and repetitive Scandinavian crime movies that begin to bore me to death and also a lot better than German crime movies that only play with stereotypes and frequently criticize the society by having a boring touch of morality. This movie feels light and profound at the same time. I wish more crime flicks of that kind would be created and all those Swedish or German directors and screenplay writers should get a fresh inspiration from this very natural movie.
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