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Rashomon style murder suspense condemns mass and social media
This crime suspense is definitely worth your money since it includes so many elements: apart from the usual murder suspense and guess who is the killer, weaved into the mystery is the role of twitter and gossip-style TV programmes. Also, buried into the core of the murder of the beautiful snow white office lady Noriko Miki (Nanao) is the fundamental belief/myth that beauty is often associated with a positive personality. Added to all these is how we choose/reconstruct our memory and express ourselves.
With such a rich plot the script and direction has to be systematically laid out and they do. The audience can easily be sucked into the story from the beginning when TV crew Yuji Akahoshi (Go Ayano) goes to a friend Risako Karino (Misako Renbutsu)'s house to be informed of a murder in her company.
The movie opens well and creates an impression that the beautiful Noriko (Snow White) is nice and kind and innocent. As the story slowly unfolds, we discover that she is not as perfect as she appears to be and our main suspect, her co-worker Miki Shirono (Mao Inoue) is not as bad as she seems. The way the movie lays out testimonials from different people who talk about their selected reality or even lie about it is very enticing.
It is sort of like Rashomon but despite all these different versions there is got to be only one reality. Therefore it becomes very interesting deducing each witness' different motives and whether they are lying. It is extremely intriguing to see how colleagues and coworkers perceive the same person and recount their experience with that person differently.
What is most interesting is that their evidence do not add up because it is not a conventional/professional police investigation which supposedly cross-examines different witnesses and irons out conflicting facts. Instead, it is from the point of view of data collection for a juicy talk show and a personal twitter of one of the TV crew. I am not familiar with Japanese justice system but this type of talk show, going on air while police is still investigating the case, could easily cause the TV station to be committing contempt of court.
Other than exposing how human selectively remember/recount their experience, these interviews are also done in absolute free flow. In order words, there are no follow up questions for verification or triangulation of the evidence. Ditto the twitters of the crew. With the explosion of information and democratic use of social media, everyone can act like a journalist or columnist but that might not necessarily lead to fairness or justice. With an unsophisticated audience, the public can easily be misled and even a police investigation could easily be skewed. The situation almost steer into online bully and media trial which is grossly unfair to the people involved. I wish the script could explore more on this aspect.
In a way, there are probably too many characters involved too. Therefore, it may be difficult to depict the main storyline deep enough or the motive plausible enough. The movie seems to lose momentum after the TV crew goes to the suspect's hometown and the audience learn more about the early years of some of the main characters. The ending was somehow weak and meek compared with the enticing beginning and smooth development.
I quite enjoyed the same author Kanae Minato's previous work Confession. But this story is a little overbuilt with a weak end. In terms of crime thriller, I think it is not as good as Gone Girl, although both were written by a female author depicting a female killer. However, the Snow White Murder Case is quite worth watching as it makes you wonder what lies behind each person's façade, regardless of their beauty, their name and their position.
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