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An interesting, compelling, thought-provoking crime drama thriller
The film starts with Noriko, a tall, young and attractive office lady of a cosmetics company that specializes in making 'Snow White' soap who was brutally stabbed several times and then burned in a national park. When a temporary news director, Akahoshi, who works at a news company hears some insider information from a friend, who works the same company as the victim, he decided to seize the opportunity to find the suspected killer and reveal these details to the public before the police. Akahoshi reveals his investigation online and soon, news spreads across the social media like wildfire.
Adapted from a best-selling Japanese novel by Kanae Minato, The Snow White Murder Case is a well-written, nicely executed and well-acted drama thriller that tells a gripping story with enough twists and turns to sustain viewer's interest along the way. First and foremost, the film pays not much attention to the actual police investigation for the crime, but choose to focus on the public and the people who are connected to the victim or prime suspect instead. It's a modern cautionary tale about the destructive power of social media, how it can twist the fabric of truth. It examines closely how misunderstandings or misinterpretation of a person's character can potentially ruin a person's life.
The film also exposes the judgmental nature of the public in the wake of accessible information online. Throughout the film, you get to see different versions of the same events, as told from different points of view and perspectives from many people, as each person perceives and remembers things differently. However, there are also a few who chose to tell their own version of the events that happened just to get some media attention, effectively blinding the public from the truth. It's actually quite interesting to watch the details of events shift as the film progresses. The film tries to show the audience that things aren't always what they seem to be on the outside. There are so many intricacies of human actions, emotions and intentions that we always fail to perceive, no matter how smart, intelligent or clever we are.
Moreover, the film also tries to show that first impressions can be misleading and appearances can be deceiving. Beautiful women are often invisible to the naked eye. We're always so bedazzled by the outside that we tend to fail to look on the inside. The film slowly takes us deeper into the goings-on in the workplace of the soap company and gives us a brief general look at the fierce competition between women in the workplace and in society. One of the most fascinating aspects of the film is that the viewer's perspective of a certain character changes as the film progresses and we start to empathize her once the truth is slowly revealed through flashbacks which provide an emotional backstory for the main lead. Mao Inoue and Nanao both provide convincing performances in their respective roles, successfully display the multiple facets of their characters well.
The Snow White Murder Case impresses me a lot. It's actually quite rare for a crime drama thriller that has a carefully structured premise with so many ideas to convey. It's one of the most compelling, thought-provoking crime drama thrillers this year. Highly recommended.