When three murders occur in Tokyo, aside from the corpse and the crime, the commonality is the placement of numbers next to scene of crime. As such, the lead investigator pieces together enough clues to assume the scene of the next murder. He goes undercover and presents himself at an employee of the hotel. The present hotel employee is placed in charge of the detective's training, but it is clear that they have different priorities. In the meantime, there is a potential crime to prevent and criminal to apprehend.Written by
Takuya Kimura does a great job at playing the disinterested detective that grows more and more passionate about his case. The acting is great, especially from the hotel staff.
The murder story takes a bit of a backseat, most of the case development is told through meetings rather than shown. Instead the story actually focuses on the behind the scenes of hotel management, Japanese work culture and perfectionism, often explaining the influence a good hotel can have on a person's life. It can be a bit corny at times though, almost anime-like but that's just part of Japanese movie culture.
The biggest problem of the movie however is that it's too predictable. They draw so much attention to some plot points that it becomes obvious it will be a key factor in the story later.
The killer is also pretty obvious, it's so obvious in fact that you wonder if the movie is going to give you a plot twist... And it does, but it isn't a very good one. Also the killer's motive and logic is soooo stupid and non-sensical that I had to ask my Japanese friend if I understood it correctly... Unfortunately I did, and it really is THAT silly; an easily avoidable situation that makes no sense. I half expected a quirky scene where someone points out the obvious solution to the killer's problem and they say "oh, why didn't I think that?! Oh well! Too late now *murder*"
Plus the killer leaves all sorts of clues and seems to hint that he is some sort of professional assassin... But he isn't a phantom killer or anything like that, it's just a crime of passion, makes no sense to leave hints and I just don't believe that person uses such methodology. It really feels they had someone else in mind to be the killer but they thought it was too obvious or something and switched killers in the last minute.
Given than the heart of a murder mystery is the motive, method and reveal this movie greatly suffers from it, which is unfortunate because the whole plot about Japanese work culture is good.
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