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|Index||11 reviews in total|
'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.
I have mulled over the story for a bit, and while I'm fairly convinced
in the way it presented itself to stay true to its theme, I can't help
but feel that I'm still suckered into feeling the same way as the cops
do, in being made to see things from one singular point of view just
because the logic points itself that way conveniently, rather than to
peek around the corner and see it under a different light. But if you
believe and buy into its idea and rationale, then Suspect X's story
would appeal to you definitely.
Which is the power of love, which by itself causes one to do irrational things. I won't refute the point though, because otherwise we won't see florists making a killing during the already-so-commercialized-it's-meaningless Valentine's day. To make its point, we have someone who's highly logical in manners, demeanour and genetic makeup, to undergo a transformation due to being struck by cupid's arrow. But does this irrationality extend to assisting and becoming an accessory to murder? One can only wonder.
That in itself is the issue that one has to buy into, in order to enjoy the film. A murder is committed by a single mother and child, and because he is smitten with his love for that single mother, mathematics genius and professor Tetsuya Ishigami (Shinichi Tsutsumi) helps them by applying deep logic into the creation of alibis, and instructing them with pinpoint accuracy, their behaviour, answers and such when the police come knocking on their door. There's a twist to it all of course, but it's more akin to the treatment as seen in Confessions of Pain, where the extent of the killings had its hand shown early in the film, so those looking for a whodunnit, or an investigative crime drama where the investigators get stumped, would be expecting a totally different film altogether.
Instead, the story goes behind and looks at motivation. The deed is done, but the mystery here is the Why, and here's where help to the cops, come in the form of expert physicist Galileo Yukawa (Fukuyama Masaharu). The opening scene that set the stage had actually piqued my interest, as we see a classroom experiment seamlessly transition into a full scale, military styled showcase. Unfortunately, that's just one of the better parts of the film in terms of using scientific knowledge to help solve crimes. Unlike L in The Death Note series, the intelligence quotient here has some real world links (hey it's physics after all), and our hero has zero affiliation with law enforcement, helping only because of the challenge the situation posed. Don't expect some heavy theorems being thrown at your face, as the story smartly avoids situations to alienate its audience.
In fact, what it boiled down to, was succinctly summarized in one line where two friendly adversaries face off with each other across a road. The question posed was which side each of them was on, whether one would prefer to create the perfect, unsolvable puzzle, or to be the one who can solve the unsolvable puzzle, where for both there is an answer to. To that, the setting of the stage, and the throwing of the gauntlet, I have to salute how director Hiroshi Nishitani had it all planned out and delivered.
Something that disturbed me a little during the film, was the not too subtle sexual discrimination against the female cop Kaoru Utsumi. A prime suspect is referred to as sexy (though I have to admit Yasuko HanaokaXXX does look attractive, being cast as a bar hostess), but the more surprising one, was how the cops in the department were pushing Kaoru around, often referring her to do some menial tasks like fetching coffee, or ridiculed against when she came across as unprepared. There wasn't any statement made about it, but happened more as a matter-of-fact. Perhaps to echo some sentiments that such discrimination still happens?
As mentioned, it took me a while to mull upon the film, looking at it from a separate angle than I first had when the end credits roll. I may not had subscribed to the plausibility of how love can affect oneself to do silly things, to the extreme as that in the story, but I suppose it can happen given many crimes of passion that we read about from time to time, and with the little nugget of wonders that happen at sporadic intervals throughout, I'm come to the verdict that Suspect X is still worth your while. Just chuck that expectation of a whodunnit-mystery- thriller at the door.
I am not a big fan of movies which are based on books. Just look at
what they did with Harry Potter and others (LOTR is an exception). So I
wasn't much excited when my friend told me it was based on a book and I
tried not to watch it. He practically had to make me sit through the
first 15 minutes of the movie to make sure I was intrigued. Well, I am
glad he made me watch it because Suspect X is one the best mystery
thriller movies I've watched in the last couple of years.
Suspect X is a story of a murdered husband, a wife, a daughter and two geniuses. Manabu Yukawa is a scientist who helps out the police once in a while. And Tetsuya Ishigami is Mathematician who lives next door to the wife of the murdered man. Both have their reasons to be involved. The story is written tightly. The cinematography is hauntingly beautiful.
The strongest point of the movie is the interactions of the two geniuses. When they are there talking, you don't want to miss a second of their conversation. They are not conniving and trying to out do each other. They are just old friends talking. And that's what makes this movie so special.
I highly recommend it to those who love Hitchcock movies.
Note: I don't know Japanese and watched this movie with English Subtitles. It in no way affected the mood of the movie.
First of all let me admit that I haven't read the book "Devotion of
Suspect X" upon which this film was based. Apart from few loose ends in
the movie about the characters (could be director's fault or not), this
movie fed me with surprises one after another. Loved the way the story
unfolded with these suspense elements which make me feel shame that I
haven't read the book. The suspense at the Climax was a shock and is
totally unsuspected .
This movie is copied/inspired/plagiarized in India with the name "Dhrishyam" which is again going to be inspired to another language from the same country.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The following is my reply to Charlie Ishiyama's queries raised in his
review in this site;
"First, why was the suspect X or the math genius in terrible despair?" If attention is paid to the entire length of the movie itself, subtle hints were dropped throughout which I feel answered this query adequately. We know he would have had a brilliant career if not for his mother's illness which took him away from his work and ended up in a dead end job as an under-appreciated Math teacher in high school. He was alone, lonely and naturally emotionally despair. He looked old despite his relatively not that old age and he is unsatisfied both in life, love and especially in his career, not having realized his full potential and to have Yukawa declared him as a genius, it is quite obvious for the reasons for his terrible despair.
"Second, how could the heroine and her daughter cheer up this unsociable mathematician and help him to rebound from that despair?" Again subtlety explained this question. The end of the movie revealed why. He was about to kill himself when he was interrupted by friendly new neighbor, in the form of the heroine and her daughter, both cheerful and lovely. That woke him up and listening to their daily banter through the thin wall separating the 2 tiny apartments made him feel like he was part of their family that he so craves. He was lifted out of despair with the promise or rather the hope that one day he might be part of that family although he may wished but never really actually wanted to try to do that. The fact that he is unsociable and he seems so surprised at the knock on the door meant he has never had such welcome before by friendly neighbors. His loneliness dissipated with their appearance and along the way he fell for her.
"And third, how could the accidental death of the pimp or the ex-husband of the heroine be significant enough to involve all innocent people into tragedy and had them resign to their fate? It was a premise to thoroughly describe above why and how to develop characters and convince me of X's self-sacrifice or his unconditional love, I thought." There wasn't many innocent people, just 2, one is suspect x himself and the other I shall not reveal to preserve the integrity of the ending. The point is that of shock and to bring into question about how far suspect x would go to preserve the life of his beloved. That is the shock element in the end, one that even Yukawa never thought of despite his genius in deduction and in the end not just left the heroine broken due to her conscience or Suspect X due to his cruel foolishness but also Yukawa who had more faith in his friend than his friend deserves and that broke Yukawa as a person. If you have watched from the TV series to the movie itself, Yukawa is a man of logic but in this movie he contemplated other things other than logic and that presented a different facet of Yukawa. In the end this is a movie about Yukawa Manabu and how his friend suspect x broke him down in the sense Yukawa may have won the deduction battle but he still lost in the end. In fact everybody losses. A significant dialog that summarizes Yukawa's conflict and Ishigami's sacrifice is the question posed by Yukawa to Utsumi and Utsumi's answer to him at the end. It sounds simplistic, that one word, love but it is perhaps as complicated as presented in this movie.
"By the way, If I were the X, I would recommend she give herself up to the police and confess that she had no choice but protect her and her daughter in self-defence." Maybe the stigma is different in Japan? Maybe the sentencing is different?
I believe this movie is really clever in presenting the situation and how 2 men approach the same situation differently. If you're thinking this is about how one man created alibis and how the other solves it, you're wrong. This is a movie that goes beyond that. It is repetitive at some places, some slow paces but in the end it is a brilliant movie that after it finishes and a long time after makes you think; is Suspect X a villain or the good guy? Was the heroine foolish to do what she did in the end despite the sacrifices of the other? Was Yukawa right to reveal the truth which would hurt everybody? How far would one go for the sake of love? How much would one do for the sake of gratitude? How much would one reveal for the sake of the truth? This movie reveals that through 3 important characters.
It is decidedly darker than the TV series but no less brilliant in its plot, clever in the ending and made very stylishly. Performance wise, I find everybody brilliant and a great big credit must go to the 2 very charismatic actors, Fukuyama Masaharu for standing his ground against a more accomplished & well known as an actor, Tsutsumi Shinichi and of course Tsutsumi Shinichi himself. I didn't quite like Matsuyuki Yasuko because I do not like the typical acting by a Japanese actress (heavy breathing, slow mo action). My only other complaint is the stupidity of the police and the lack of role given to the brilliant Kou Shibasaki.
Highly recommended. A pity it was not released worldwide. Do watch the TV version, Galileo. More lighthearted but really clever how the crimes are committed and then solved.
For a fuller review, do check my review at my site, www.point2e.com under the Movies section.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Have you ever wondered if by some chance, the story of Beauty and Beast
had each of their counterparts in oriental world? In fact, many
post-modern classics in Oriental world had this context of beauty and
beast in love. Sometimes, the beauty is at the same time the beast (you
can find dozens of Japanese comics in the type), while other times you
will find the stories featuring the protagonist gradually becoming
inhuman to pursue the love of the beauty.
The story of Suspect X features one of the most memorable Oriental lead Mr. Ishigami. He's not a people person, and certainly not an enthusiastic lover. He is, in summary, a man of his logic and mathematics. Yet, in order to cover up for the beautiful neighbor's crime, he pulled a magic trick which had the police messing around with no progress at all. What did he do on earth? How are the police not able to relate the murder back to the ones that commit it? Spoilers alert.
The whole movie Suspect X is like a poetic journal conceived in Mr. Ishigami's mind. It stayed cool until the last moments; it presented you with all the necessary facts. Japanese cinema has been famous for its social concern especially in the detective genre. However, unlike the old movies that bash the social immorality explicitly, Suspect X doesn't complain. Or, should I say its complaints are all silent, implicit, waiting for the concerned parties to unveil.
Actually, if one can taste Mr. Ishigami's mindset, one would be shivering because something is terrifying. You may sigh for him because he may still lack certain sectors of knowledge like female psychology and personalities to render a perfect cover for the crime. Or else, you may sigh for him because the wanderer he killed and he are of the same kind, which was spilled out by the society like urine after the society utilized one. In his vision, the wanderers are accurate like clocks, indicating their inhuman, robotic status, or oops, he already considered them a bunch of dysfunctional mechanics. If a robot kills another robot, it would be completely amoral. Unfortunately, both the wanderers and Mr. Ishigami are still considered humans by the law, therefore must be put to judgments.
Haven't any of us made up our minds just like Ishigami to be a biologist, mathematician, scientist, etc. to fulfill our life? One can easily find out that he's not the genius the other people said he would be. Yet, is that all about life? For a modern Oriental, however, such can very much be the case. The cultural dilemma we have here is that of a functional social component and its(or should I say his) humanity. Talents, fame can all become curses. People stop taking you for who you are and only recognize what you are talented in or famous for. As Orientals, we have reluctantly found out the more secular we become, the less our cultural identity can comfort or shelter us. Last week I visited my 90-year-old grandma who couldn't remember me. Note that 30 years ago she was the finest nurse chief in my city. If we ask secularly what is left in her now, we would know that we are all heading to Mr. Ishigami's way.
When we say the word "dead end", do we actually hope to die in that "end"? Again in my peers, I already know several geniuses that are as pessimistic and depressed as Mr. Ishigami. More interestingly, their view of love and romance is also similar to Ishigami's that their deepest, most innocent love for another person should be packed, reserved on the shelf like medals. In fact, they also know this is not exactly a healthy way to look on love. And, that's why I said Suspect X is either an Oriental Beauty and Beast story or a silent accusation to the society we are living in. Many were awed by Ishigami's "self-sacrifice" and how deep his love actually is. Many succumb to this romanticized yet twisted "love" Ishigami has. Many are even ready to tell their spouse that they are willing to become anything for their other half. While audiences with similar personality to Ishigami tasted this bitterness secular can't know.
To prove that Ishigami's "sacrifice" is not pure, one only needs to see one fact, that he killed another person. Anyone overlook that fact should simply see their ignorance not only to the poor, but also to people's souls. On the surface, his "love" is selfless. While John the apostle said in the Bible, "God is love", Modern Orientals often say the opposite "love is God". Ishigami may not really be a "obsessive perverted" he pretend to be when he gave in himself to the police, but he's absolutely obsessed with the perfected-in-his-mind life of the beautiful neighbor and her daughter. As the movie showed us, the Hanaoka mom and daughter lived a painful, shattered life in a shattered family further riddled with crime tragically commit by themselves. Yet one as obsessive as Ishigami can be bought into this vision of female angels if one's totally hopeless.
However, one similar to Ishigami still has another choice. That is to confess his love. If that came out a failure, then one still can confess that his love is unhealthy, not only to a priest, not only to a psychiatrist but also to God himself. Love can be powerful, and love can also fall and still be powerful in a demonic way. When love falls, one's ego will make sure nothing else can sugarcoat it. Then despite how selfless that love appears, it's essentially selfish. Suspect X's story also reminded me that "poor" is not only a word to describe the financial status, but also a word of soul, that intellectuals can be as poor as beggars, and we don't need to be a social worker to care for them.
This movie is one of the best crime thriller I've seen in it some time.
As soon as the lead characters are shown, I'd the idea that this is
going to be a different ride. The movie doesn't waste anytime getting
into the plot which thickens and becomes interesting as the movie goes
on. The dynamics between the two master-minds is the highlight of this
The plan for the cover-up is brilliant. We feel that the cover-up takes care of all the things, or so it seems. We are shown a couple of clues on to how the cover-up is done but it's subtle. If we focus on the movie, we can spot these and then piece the plot together before it's actually revealed. This makes the movie even more interesting. As the movie reach its final act, we see a significant change of tone to focus more on the emotions. The climax will have a deep impact on you.
It's must watch for all the movie lovers and especially for crime thriller fans.
The director and people involved in this catastrophe should be very
ashamed of themselves. Rarely before have I seen something that had so
much potential fail so horribly.
I read the book before watching this and was very excited to see what they had done with it on screen. Man, was I disappointed. Everything from key details that have been left out (while adding new and pointless changes to the original story) to a ridiculous soundtrack that I'm not quite sure where would have worked as it was a confusing mix of keyboard jingles and in general made most scenes comical and/or superficial, not to mention the amateur acting from key players like Kô Shibasaki in the role of detective Utsumi. It was a pain to watch.
Based on a story like "The Devotion of Supect X" this film could have been one of the best in its genre in the hands of the right people but instead turned out an absolute joke. If you MUST watch this film I strongly encourage you to read the book first.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Judging by the title, you'd think "Suspect X" refers to a detective
story with a shady, unknown suspect that the protagonists struggle to
identify. Not so; from the start the viewer is shown exactly who the
murderer is, and despite a supposedly genius cover up, the police have
a "hunch" that is exactly correct within five minutes of finding the
body, and spend most of the film trying to prove it (completely
ignoring the possibility of other suspects despite a total lack of
If you're a fan of the Galileo TV series you may be disappointed by the lack of complicated pseudo-science in the film's mystery. Likewise, the chemistry between Yukawa and Detective Utsumi takes a back seat. What the film is really about is a character drama between a single mother, a reclusive Maths genius, and Yukawa.
Single mother Hanaoka divorced her abusive husband and fled to establish her own business. But her ex-husband catches up to her, and after a three-way struggle between mother, daughter and husband, he winds up dead. Enter Ishigami, Hanaoka's reclusive next door neighbour who hears the struggle. In the aftermath of the fight, he approaches the family and proposes to help them create an alibi. Using his genius mathematics he covers it up and tells Hanaoka how to perfectly avoid police suspicion- until Yukawa gets involved. And old friend of Ishigami's, Yukawa is suspicious but more than anything else he is driven to find out his friend's motivation. This forms the main drive of the film.
... and that part is pretty good. The character of Ishigami is genuinely well played and intriguing. His interactions with Hanaoka and Yukawa are convincing and help to carry the movie.
There's only one real problem with the film- but it's a big one. It's stupid. At the end of the day, when you actually stop and think about Ishigami's "genius" plan doesn't make sense. It involves a second completely pointless murder, and it turns out that the original body was disposed of in a way that the police never found it. Despite this, Ishigami decides that it's necessary to kill someone else and dump their body in plain sight as part of his bizarre master plan. On top of this, we're supposed to believe that the police force devotes dozens and dozens of officers to investigating the murder of a deadbeat divorcée.
Your enjoyment of the film will boil down entirely to how much you're willing to ignore. If you can switch your brain off and just enjoy the acting then the interaction between Ishigama, Yukawa and Hanaoka will keep you interested. Otherwise you'll be left frowning and saying "Hold on a minute..." as the credits start to roll.
Not sure too many people will be watching this movie outside of Japan, I have caught it on DVD here in Indonesia and i found it a very interesting movie to watch. Japanese do things differently, like the French, and this was a crime thriller not so much about catching the killer or having to find out who did it but about motivation. the maths teacher Mr AShiguro is obviously essential to this story and I love the scene towards the end up the snowy mountain, great drama and great scenery, wow! I sense a naivity in the basic story line and I would have liked to see more understanding and reasoning behind why the husband returned at that particular time in the womans life; reference is made to her having first met him at a Club, so was she a geisha girl or stripper or something before or just a bar girl? Not aware this is part of a series and the DVD is entitled SUSPECT X, easier title than the one above. of course I watched with satisfactory sub-titles in English. The film is well put together but even so I cant highly rate it, hence only 6 points.
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