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Tsutsumi Shinichi stole the spotlight in this movie!
'Yougisha X no Kenshin' is battle of wits between the physicist "Galileo" Yukawa (Fukuyama Masaharu) and his university friend and genius mathematician Ishigami (Tsutsumi Shinichi). The first 10 minutes of this film was just like the TV dorama series, light comedy filled with physics jargon, but it soon turns into a completely different, stand-alone movie. This movie and Galileo dorama are both based on the same mystery novel series, but this movie was more of a suspense movie with a touch of human drama because it was very clear from beginning who the culprits were.
The movie was surprisingly well-directed for a dorama director. There were many epic, well-executed slow motion scenes, and somehow he completely removed dorama cheesiness for majority of the play time.
Fukuyama Masaharu and Shibasaki Kou's acting were sub-par, but the "supporting" actors Tsutsumi Shinichi and Matsuyuki Yasuko were INCREDIBLE. I have already seen couple of similar characters Tsutsumi played in his long dorama career, but I was surprised how perfect he was for this role and made me sympathize with his character even though he played a bad guy. Matsushima Yasuko was solid as usual, though she over-acted in couple of places. Still, she depicted her character well. Tsutsumi Shinichi and Matsushima Yasuko were credited with supporting actor/actress in this film, but they each got almost as much screen-time as Fukuyama Masaharu, and I don't think it can be disputed that those two were the de-facto leading actor and actress in this movie. Shibasaki Kou is one of my favorite actresses, but she was a non-factor in terms of both screen presence and acting quality.
Although I liked the comedy in the dorama series, I'm glad they changed the style for this movie. The plot involved very little physics and mathematics, but focused on the human side of the guest characters: What was the motivation for Suspect X's involvement? The meaning of the title "Devotion of Suspect X", devotion indeed. This is one of those movies that sinks in a while after the ending credits.
There is a metaphor I really liked in this film. "Is it harder to create a question no one can solve, or solve that unsolvable question?" This reminded me of the word origin "mujun" (contradiction) in Japanese, which writes "Spear-Shield" in kanji. It's an imported Chinese word derived from an ancient philosophical text where a salesman was selling a "spear that can break through any shields" and a "shield that can defend against any spear", but was dumbfounded when someone asked him what happens if he used the spear on the shield. A truly clever metaphor it is!
I really connected with Tsutsumi and Matsuyuki's characters, and although I didn't cry while watching this movie, I heard couple of other audience in the theater crying. 'Yougisha X' movie is a very serious and deep movie in contrast to the dorama, and I have enjoyed every moment of it.
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