In addition to making unshowy, Ozu-esque meditations on intergenerational familial conflict, a hallmark of recent films by Hirokazu Kore-eda — such as Like Father, Like Son and especially After the Storm — is a refusal to judge his characters. Being a pure legal thriller on the surface, Kore-eda’s The Third Murder seems at first like a hard left into pulp, one whose surfaces are far more cinematic and impressionistic than usual. Square-jawed lawyer Shigemori (Masaharu Fukuyama) is tasked with defending the middle-aged Misumi (Koji Yakusho), who’s confessed to murdering his boss to steal his money for gambling.
But the more Shigemori investigates the case, the more he questions whether Misumi — who served time for a different murder three years prior — really committed the crime. Kore-eda raises his pet theme of judgment from subtext to text, while also contending with personal responsibility and the overall coldness of the universe; he shoots in chilly tones, and both Shigemori and Misumi have difficulty finding basic physical warmth. The Third Murder is one of Kore-eda’s most accessible films, and while it’s for the best that it has a multi-word title, in both theme and the way Kore-eda plays with exposures and block, The Third Murder could legit have gotten away with calling itself Persona. (That’s a compliment.)
Opens Friday at the 4-Star Theater.
By Richard Cowan This article was originally published on Blue Ribbon Hemp. To view the original article, click here. Consuming CBD…
'On My Way' is built for rumination, rather than ecstatic dance-floor catharsis.