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A detective investigates a series of murders. A possible serial killer might be on a rampage, since they all are in the same vicinity and by the same method, but as the evidence points toward the detective as the prime suspect, a ghost in red follows him, and he begins to question his identity. His realization of what seems to have really happened results in something much more sinister and larger in scope, and it leaves his psyche scarred. Written by
This is a rather forgettable horror film, which is a letdown coming from Kiyoshi Kurosawa. I see people on the messageboard for this film claiming that disliking it shows a lack of sophistication, or a failure to appreciate Japanese cinema. I'm a fan of the Asian horror wave of the past decade or so. I had no trouble following movies like Suicide Club, The Eye, and A Tale of Two Sisters. And I love several of Kiyoshi Kurosawa's other works: Cure, Charisma, Korei (Seance) and Kairo (Pulse.) I didn't like Retribution. It has long tension-building takes and quirky observed moments like Kurosawa's better works; he's an assured director who excels at atmosphere. But the plot of this film may actually be TOO clear. Cure, Charisma and Pulse are evocative films that leave central questions unanswered, haunting viewers.
In Retribution, everything is revealed, and the supernatural comes to seem ordinary, a little boring and even a little silly. Techniques and images repeat from Kurosawa's better films. Retribution has its moments, but there's nothing here that Kurosawa hasn't already done better elsewhere.
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