Twelve-year-old Koichi, who has been separated from his brother Ryunosuke due to his parents' divorce, hears a rumor that the new bullet trains will precipitate a wish-granting miracle when they pass each other at top speed.
Ryota is a successful workaholic businessman. When he learns that his biological son was switched with another boy after birth, he faces the difficult decision to choose his true son or the boy he and his wife have raised as their own.
Members of a cult, modeled on Aum Shinrikyo, sabotage a city's water supply, then commit mass suicide near the shores of a lake. Family members of those affected by it meet at the lake to observe the anniversary of their loved ones' deaths.
Misumi has a criminal record dating back many years and is now under the spotlight again. It looks like an open and shut case, for Misumi has confessed to the new charge. Enter prominent lawyer Shigemori, who harbours other ideas, which could mean the difference between life and death.Written by
The murderer in this film has killed twice. So, why is the film called 'The Third Murder?' It's up to the viewer to answer the question. In my view, the third victim is the truth. As one of the protagonists remarks in a crucial scene: 'No one has spoken the truth'.
'The Third Murder' is a film asking a lot of questions, but answering few. To be clear: that's a good thing. What is truth? What is righteousness? Which of the two are more important for a lawyer? And for a judge? Is capital punishment always wrong? Or, in the words of the killer: should some people never have been born?
With this film, acclaimed film maker Hirukazo Kore-eda takes a different path from many of his previous films. He is known for his delicate and subtle dramas about the family life of ordinary people. This time, he has made a sort of courtroom drama (although only a small part is actually set in a courtroom) about a killer and his possible motives.
Still, the theme of family relations is not absent in this film. Far from it, in fact. Fatherhood is omnipresent. One of the most important characteristics of the killer is how he has failed as a father. The lawyer defending him discusses the case with his own father, a retired judge who has convicted the same killer decades earlier. And the dead victim turns out to have been the worst father imaginable. At least, in one version of the truth.
'The Third Murder' is a multi-layered, complex film which offers lots of surprises and twists. Kore-eda succeeds in keeping the viewer wondering what comes next. But at the same time, the result is less convincing than in some of Kore-eda's best family dramas, in which human nature is dissected by small acts and symbolic details. Not by important, philosophical questions.
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