A wave of gruesome murders is sweeping Tokyo. The only connection is a bloody X carved into the neck of each of the victims. In each case, the murderer is found near the victim and remembers nothing of the crime. Detective Takabe and psychologist Sakuma are called in to figure out the connection, but their investigation goes nowhere. An odd young man is arrested near the scene of the latest murder, who has a strange effect on everyone who comes into contact with him. Detective Takabe starts a series of interrogations to determine the man's connection with the killings.Written by
Todd K. Bowman <email@example.com>
(at around 51 mins) In Japan, they drive on the left side of the road and the steering wheel is on the right side of the car. In every scene in this picture that's the case - except one. When the detective leaves in his car to go to the hospital because Mamiya has turned up there, the steering wheel is on the left and he drives on the right side of the road. See more »
There are no opening credits, with the exception of the movie's title. See more »
The serial killer movie has by now been done to death (so to speak), so it's especially rewarding to see this assured film that takes a truly ingenious approach. Kurosawa's protagonist is a seemingly dazed young man who, in spite of his aimless demeanor, is a master hypnotist. To reveal any more of what happens would be to give a bit too much away.
The subtlety and fluidity of this film is remarkable. The main character can be charming and simultaneously irritating when he speaks. He turns his speaking partner's question back on the speaker; he answers with vague phrases that nevertheless, over the course of the film, gradually bring out the complexity of his psyche. Pitting him against a cop whose wife seems to suffer from something like the hypnotist's 'brand' of mental wanderings underlines the thematic context of the film: what we know is almost certainly only what we think we know. And what we think we know is almost certainly based on someone else's 'knowledge', derived the same as ours.
That knowledge is a collective phenomenon, a shared and critical feature of the 'hive' is not a novel concept in film. But its presentation here is bold and original. To link that idea with a person who destroys life is a master stroke; it says that what we know vanishes in a suddenly extinguished flame, or a tiny stream of water that appears, runs, and then is seen no more.
This is a film that should definitely be added to the great films of the 90s. Since it was not released in the U.S. until 2001, I vote for it being one of the great films of that year here.
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