The Third Murder (2017) Poster

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"Time to kill"
BiiivAL7 June 2018
An experienced lawyer undertakes to defend a man accused of brutal murder. Everything is clear, like a day. The accused confessed and in the distant past had already passed through a similar case. However, intuition tells the lawyer that in this case everything is too smooth ...

The new work of Hirokazu Koreda (After the Storm, Son in the Father, Miracle, After Life) is fascinating at first sight and does not let go. The producer, a dog who has eaten on meditative festival pictures, delays into the "mainstream" narrative easily and unobtrusively. The tape, although it has a number of contingent plot surprises, uses the standard detective canvas only as a background for deeper reflections. Each dialogue or phrase dropped carries a semantic question, the answer to which the viewer is trying to find together with the director.

Despite the seemingly outward asceticism of the production, the tape does not look simple at all. Excellent camera work Mikiya Takimoto, with whom the director worked on the paintings "Son in the Father" and "Diary of Umimati, literally erases the boundaries of reality. And the music of Ludovico Einaudi ("1 + 1", "Strange crime") harmoniously complements the magic cinema.

The lead actor's duet is incomparable. Conversations and transformations of the "lawyer" Masaharu Fukuyama (John Woo's "Hunting for the person", "Suspect X", "Son in the father", "Summer formula", "Sensation!") And the suspect Koji Yakusho ("The Emperor in August", " Tree of the Cicadas "," Thirst "," Harakiri "and" 13 murderers "Takashi Miike) are built and lived filigree. In the background, the charming Kotaro Yoshida (The Clinic of Love, The Woman Who Loves Lies, the Doric of Sentimental Tokyo) looked good as a colleague in a law firm.

Summarizing: definitely, a heap of awards of "the Japanese Film Academy" the tape has deserved quite deservedly. Excellent directing, an indescribable mood and parable motives in a deceptively detective shell. Movies of great style.
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Read the reviews and decided to add mine because most (if not all) got it wrong.
wildcat-3129 November 2018
Warning: Spoilers
I assume everyone who is reading this has watched the movie. The title became clear to me when there was a flashback that included Sakie and Misumi killing the father. That was when I realized that Sakie had a hand in killing her father. However, this was changed when Misumi told Shigemori that he was not at the river bank and he did not kill the father. Flashback to the driver who earlier said that the father had a wallet that smelled of petrol already. Misumi stole his wallet already with petrol and Sakie later killed him when he tried to rape her by the river bank again. I thought Shigemori understood this when he wanted to change the plea of Misumi. Even Misumi thought Shigemori understood this when he shook hands with Shigemori after judgement - because he thought Shigemori believed him.

The ending of the movie is the saddest, when Shigemori went back to visit Misumi. It totally broke Misumi's heart (and mine), when Shigemori confessed that he only changed the plea because he thought Misumi wanted to protect Sakie from the embarrassment of rape. Because of that, Misumi changed his story again, which he does every time people do not believe in what he is saying. "It must be as you say it is" cuts right to the heart of a person whom nobody believed, even Shigemori. Misumi never wanted to protect Sakie, he just wanted the truth to be told and believed. Look at how he did not even exchange glances at the guilt-stricken Sakie when he was led out of courtroom.

The third murder was committed by everyone who did not believe in Misumi's innocence and story, everyone who judged that he killed, including Shigemori and Misumi who didn't tell the whole truth.

I had to write this after going through the reviews and finding out that so many reviewers finished the movie still not believing Misumi did not kill.
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Not so much whodunnit as... does it matter?
GyatsoLa2 April 2018
I've just managed to catch up with this quite elusive film as I'm a big Akira Kurosawa film and from what I saw from the description and trailer, this would seem to be Koreeda's 'Kurosawa' film - there are obvious references to both Rashomon and High and Low.

The film indeed is clearly influenced by both those films, with a bit of Kurosawa's lesser known court drama Scandal thrown in. The plot follows a lawyer, asked by a colleague to assist with a seemingly straightforward capital punishment case. A middle aged man called Mizume is accused of, and has confessed to, the murder of a factory owner, and the theft of money. Mizume had only just been released after a long prison sentence for a previous murder. The lawyers job is to avoid the death penalty by trying to muddy the waters around the murder, and perhaps suggest it was an impulsive act and not planned (from what I can understand, Japanese law tends to have a range of gradations of homocide, with the judge ultimately deciding if it was serious enough for the death penalty).

The job of the lawyers is complicated by the apparent passivity of Mizume, and his constant changing of his story. At first, his explanations are just vague and contradictory, but he then states that he killed the man because he was paid by the mans wife to do so. As the main lawyer, Shigemora, digs deeper, he finds yet another possible motive.

I won't give away the ending, except to say that there is a 'probable' reason given in the end, but so many versions are given its not entirely clear what happened, or (seemingly the core question of the film) whether the truth is relevant at all to the operation of justice. Shigemora is caught in a Rashomon like situation of not knowing whether there is any one real truth, and whether knowing, or exposing, this truth is in any way relevant, morally, ethically or legally.

While the film sort of hedges the line between being a procedural and a more philosophical exploration of justice and truth (which reminded me a little of some recent Korean films such as Memories of Murder and Mother) the film also shows clear influence from High and Low as the main protagonist agonises over the guilty mans motivation, and starts to identify with him - shown rather allegorically in their prison conversations, with one face 'reflected' over another.

Rather like Kurosawa with Scandal and High and Low, the film seems to reflect the Directors concerns with the operation of justice in Japan, although those concerns seem pretty universal. In particular, the question of whether 'justice' and 'truth' are in any way compatible. Rather like Kurosawa's early films on the topic, the approach is perhaps a little too didactic for audiences not up to speed on the operation of the Japanese system.

As a film, I found it quite engrossing, while simultaneously a little frustrating. Koreeda is famous for a very deliberate, slow approach which in his best work absorbs the viewer into the life of his characters. Unfortunately, this type of film I think requires a more dynamic style, and the film is somewhat one-paced. Worse, it is hamstrung by some rather clunky didactic dialogue (the lawyer is followed everywhere by a young assistant, always asking stupid and naive questions which seem to have no other purpose than to explain to the audience what we are seeing), and some heavy handed metaphors. The two leads are good in the roles, but there is quite poor acting in some of the lesser roles - I think mostly due to the undercooked script and somewhat contrived plotting. I can't help feeling that Koreeda was trying to get something off his chest with this film, and found himself with a type of film making he's not really comfortable with.

So while the film is certainly quite gripping, and I found the insights into the Japanese court system very interesting, this is nowhere near the Directors best film. Its certainly worth anyones time with an interest in Japanese cinema to watch it, but be prepared I think to be a little disappointed if you are either a Koreeda fan (I certainly am), or for that matter, a Kurosawa fan.
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Not your Usual Suspect...
fundaquayman3 January 2018
Warning: Spoilers
I've been a fan of Koreeda's work since Maborisi. His films have an incredible ability to bring a deeper layer of understanding to inherent contradictions to humanity without coming across as preachy or political - they make us ask ourselves why we exist, and what are the means to which we gauge our lives... through made-believe fantasies such as that in The Afterlife, the audience gets to see how memory is the actual currency to which our lives are measured by at the end of it all. And in Still Walking we see how the inability to let go of pain compels us to continue to remind those whom we want to blame for our painful past through rituals that are disguised as a celebration of life - all within the setting of an otherwise uneventful family gathering. Koreeda has the ability to turn the audience to focus not on the seemingly mundane or routine events taking place within the story, but the nuances to which characters in the story feel, react, deny, (and are confused by either each other's action, words, or their own memories of each other that either helped to move them forward toward a new path, or held them in prison so they're stuck in the past) - logic is rarely the path to which the audience follows in a Koreeda film to understand and appreciate the messages or questions we end up going away with, but almost always we leave the cinema asking ourselves, silently and quietly - are our own lives moving forward with or without meaning?

In The Third Murder, we see the Koreeda trade-mark touches visually and in the score, all of which continue to show us how the world is essentially a place without emotions - in spite of all the vibrant city lights and colors, life can go on as if it's just a habit we cannot let go of. The mystery to the murderer - Misumi, first makes us think this is a story about a criminal who should have never been set free, and in the end the audience is left to question whether it is right for him to be penalized for a crime he may not have committed.

Koreeda draws a parallel between the murderer (Misumi) and Shigemori, the lawyer protagonist, who begins as a character with more drive to win than he has time to integrate morals or ethics in his thinking. In the end of the movie, he is the only person in the story who suffers from having considered, yet failed while trying, to do the morally-right thing.

To bring light to how legal system is flawed, or to highlight how the system and its lawyers often don't have ability to actually do the right thing when evidence is based only on speculation - none of that are new ideas or elements in the movies. This is as familiar as the line, "when legends become fact, we print the legend."

If Koreeda's aim was to show us the flaws to the legal system, and how it forces upon us to bring closure to a case that is much more complex than the law can handle - the movie didn't work well to provoke or evoke - all of this has been done, and done better in the past by other movies. If Koreeda was trying to point out how much of a martyr the character Misumi is, and that of all the lawyers, victims, and conspirators, he's the only person in the story who had a clear purpose and meaning in life - to do the right thing by ending the wrong in spite of what the law allows - this was not convincing, and got lost within the overly complex layers of plot points and at best it hits the audience as a doubt or question on which character and what part of the story they should believe in.

This movie didn't work well as political commentary, nor does it make for slice-of-life story about how people find meaning in life - perhaps things got lost in translation and I'm not seeing the Japanese cultural nuances as it's meant to be appreciated. but that's never been a problem with Koreeda films.

Some critics have drawn comparisons and similarities to Kurosawa's Rashomon, I tend to not agree - Rashomon brings to light that truth can only be based on perception, and everyone can perceive differently and be affected by their selfish interests. The Third Murder only resembles Rashomon in how it show one character keep changing the alleged facts, when at the end of the movie it is quite clear to the audience two things: 1) Misumi enjoys being able to control the situation and the people involved, and 2) he knew how to manipulate the legal process so well that he changed the story and his role in the murder knowing how the law would interpret and adjust to deal with the case - all with the aim to end the case quickly by adding more weight to speculation that would lock him with the murder, when the real evidence was never considered (e.g. blood-stains on the girl's shoes).

For a Koreeda film, this was a disappointment by comparison to his previous work (My Little Sister was also). If we are to consider the first murder to be the loan shark Misumi killed out of righteousness, the second being Sakie's father, then the 3rd murder's victim would then be Misumi himself - sorry, this isn't the kind of contrived Usual Suspects of a message I would expect from a master filmmaker/story-teller like Koreeda.
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Complex, maddening, beautiful told
ebeckstr-112 May 2019
One of the most psychologically and thematically complex autopsies of truth, ethics, and morality I've seen. It reminds me of Rashomon in some respects, except that much of the fluidity and subjectivity of truth in this movie is found within a single character, and within societal systems of "truth-seeking," i.e., the "justice" and legal systems. Even the camera movement in this film is perfectly attuned to those themes, subtly moving into, over, and out of scenes from all directions. Koji Yakusho is superb as usual, and all other acting and casting is excellent as well, as is the score and the editing. I will be thinking on this one for a while.
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Crime and fatherhood
rubenm1 May 2018
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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Slow-paced courtroom drama with depth
kluseba25 July 2018
The Third Murder is a gloomy courtroom drama that deals with complex topics like control, fatherhood and righteousness. The story revolves around young lawyer Shigemori who is asked to defend mysterious Misumi. His father once defended the strange man when he committed murder in the past and he managed to change his impending death penalty into a life imprisonment sentence. Soon after his release from prison, Misumi admits to have killed his former boss in order to steal his wallet and settle some gambling debts. However, Misumi soon starts offering different versions of what actually happened. Shigemori is unable to figure his client out but determined to win the case. He starts investigating the complex case himself and stumbles upon the victim's quiet wife and their handicapped daughter who seem to have something to hide. While trying to win the case, Shigemori doesn't only learn more about the lives of everyone involved but about his own family life.

The Third Murder is a movie that is quite tough to watch. Its pace is particularly slow. The investigation process is contradictory, difficult and inconclusive. The film doesn't offer any shifts in action or tension. The conclusion won't please those who are expecting a dynamic crime flick.

However, this film has an almost hypnotically gloomy atmosphere that gives it its very own style from start to finish. The characters are quite intriguing because they are difficult to figure out. Protagonist Shigemori almost pales in comparison to his fascinating client Misumi who meanders between being a manipulative madman, a calm sage in harmony with himself and a mentally broken elder. The dialogues are particularly well-written. The acting performances are quite credible and almost make the movie seem to be a documentary. The locations suit the sinister atmosphere very well as they manage to look beautiful despite their bleak darkness. The calm and precise cinematography completes the picture of this soulful drama.

In the end, you will appreciate The Third Murder if you are ready to watch a slow-paced courtroom drama with an inconclusive plot but intriguing characters and gripping atmosphere. This movie most certainly isn't for everyone but it's good at what it's attempting to be. Patient viewers will be rewarded with some intellectual food for thought.
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The True Motive
claudio_carvalho27 April 2018
The defense attorney Shigemori (Masaharu Fukuyama) is summoned to help his coworkers in a murder case. The prisoner Misumi (Kôji Yakusho) has confessed the murder of his former boss and factory owner that was burnt to ashes nearby a river to rob his wallet to pay debts in gambling. Misumi will face death penalty since thirty years ago he killed another man and was defended by Shigemori´s father. Shigemori´s purpose is to change the sentence from death penalty to life. Shigemori is not satisfied with the lack of evidences of the case and notes that Misumi changes his testimony in each interview. He decides to investigate deeper the case and questions the true motive for the murder.

"Sandome no satsujin", a.k.a. "The Third Murder", is a tribunal and fatherhood drama with a screenplay with many twists. The storyline is based on a murder case with a confessing defendant and his new attorney seeking evidences to learn the truth. In common, there is the fatherhood: Shigemori is an absent father due to his dedication to his profession. Misumi is also an absent father since he has spent his last thirty years imprisoned. The victim was an abusive father and Misumi connects to his daughter as a second chance in life. In the end, was the murder to pay a debt with the Yakuza or a righteous justice act? My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): "O Terceiro Assassinato" ("The Third Murder")
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Back to form
overdarklord10 June 2018
With "The Third Murder" Hirokazu Koreeda sidepaths from the more lighthearted thematics his more recent movies like "our little sister" or "after the storm" had and reenters the realm of profound dramas in which he previously worked with in movies like "Like father like son" and one of his ealier works "after life". While the light hearted stuff is enjoyable and it is not as much of a risky "hit and miss" as a movie like "afterlife" might be, I think his more deep and serious movies are definitly more impacting and memorable, thats why I think "The third murder" is definitly one of Koreedas finest works.

In this crime thriller Koreeda explores heavily the ideas of truth, justice and especially motivation. Why do people say what they say? Can we really trust anyone? This movie was just so beautifully crafted with nearlly every scene you learn new things about character you thought you know already, just to find out how wrong you were, until you dont know what to believe anymore.

The cinematography was pretty unique to his other movies I would say. He added some emotionally driven music shots that fitted quite well with the tone of the movie and made some character interactions that were already tense and interesting even better by presenting interesting camera shots.

It was only fitting for Koreeda to give Masaharu Fukuyama the lead role given how well he did in "Like father like son" and he did a wonderful job again with this role. Also one of japans best actors "Koji Yakusho" did a perfect job, like most of the time and gave his role the exact nuance i was talking about previously, with being able to make yourself question your own judgement.

Overall I can only recommend this movie. Hirokazu Koreeda is one of Japans best living directos and "the third murder" is one of his best movies and I am already looking forward of rewatching this movie.
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Very good...but the pacing will create a problem for many viewers
MartinHafer17 January 2019
In recent years, Hirokazu Koreeda has been among the most exciting and interesting Japanese filmmakers. In movies such as "Like Father, Like Son", "Our Little Sister" and "Shoplifters", he tells marvelous stories about seemingly ordinary and non-cimematic sitations....stories about real people and about problems which you rarely hear about in Japanese movies. Here, in a bit of a change of pace, Koreeda takes on a story about murder....and it's complex, strange and ultimately worth seeing. Sadly, however, the pacing is glacially slow...and many viewers ultimately might give up on the film before its conclusion.

The story is about a group of lawyers who have been a pretty hopeless case to defend. It seems a man has pled guilty to murder and burning a corpse...and he's done little to help himself avoid the death penalty. In addition, his story is very inconsistent and keeps changing. Inexplicably, instead of just going through the motions as most lawyers would do in a case like this, Shigemori keeps digging to learn exactly what did happen and why...and, not surprisingly, it's not what the case originally seemed to be.

The story is slow....very, very slow. For non-Japanese audiences, this slowness makes watching the film with subtitles a bit tough...and I found myself drifting off on occasion. My advice is to stick with it....the twist is shocking and exposes some issues rarely addressed in films...especially Japanese films. Not surprising, as Koreeda seems to enjoy addressing topics which other Japanese filmmakers avoid.
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Murder was the case...
politic198329 March 2018
Warning: Spoilers
"I've only made two so far and I want to try making a wide variety of films. I want to make action films, period films." (Kore-eda Hirokazu, 1999)

Speaking with Mark Schilling for Premier back in 1999 with only "Maboroshi no Hikari", "After Life" and his documentaries under his belt, it was clear Kore-eda was going down the route of the auteur, though his penchant for the unconventional family drama was still some years to come. Since 2008's seminal "Still Walking", "Air Doll" aside (which is probably where it can stay), his work has seen weak father figures, bickering couples, children fending for themselves and grandparents that know best.

But with 2006's "Hana" Kore-eda's biggest step into new territory so far with a period piece, his latest film "The Third Murder" sees him take on the courtroom drama: a genre typically building suspense to the inevitable plot twist reveal.

Misumi (played by hair connoisseur Koji Yakusho) confesses to the murder of a local factory owner: his former boss. A convicted murderer on two counts in his native Hokkaido, it comes soon after his release form his thirty year sentence, and as such, he is likely to face the death penalty. Up steps Shigemori (taller-than-average Masaharu Fukuyama) and his legal firm to defend Misumi: their sole purpose to reduce his charge from murder and burglary to murder and theft, thus potentially seeing Misumi cheat death.

Misumi, playing the sap, goes along with Shigemori's idea, but the more Shigemori delves, the less it seems a clear, open-and-shut case. "Links" are uncovered between Misumi and his former boss' widow and their daughter, Sakie (our little sister Suzu Hirose) - seemingly the victim of her father's abuse. As such, Shigemori starts to question the true motives of Misumi, not just as a legal case, but as to the true nature of justice.

With so many lives affected, a selection of narrative options are offered, without giving a firm conclusion as to which was the true course of events, leaving Shigemori questioning his role, as Misumi realises his end goal.

Plot twists in suspense dramas compare to trying to make people jump in horror films: they're a cover for lacking anything truly captivating to say or show. As such, the nature of offering many potential stories could lead to a confused mess of a film, but Kore-eda, while working in a different area, is becoming something of a master at evaluating the human condition, using the contradictory narratives to leave you questioning truth and motive, rather than a simple twist at the end to try and keep you interested.

Social comment as to the justice system is offered throughout, perhaps sometimes a little too plainly, though always aimed at the morality and ethics of an organised justice system. Misumi may have admitted to the murder, but the more he reveals, the less straightforward his guilt becomes. Shigemori - oft referred to as a lawyer who keeps criminals from facing their guilt by family and foe alike - simply deconstructs narrative to fit his case for the defence.

As with "Like Father, Like Son", the lead characters' differences create archetypes to help Kore-eda in making his point. Shigemori, as with Nonomiya, starts from the moral high ground, but soon realises he is the one who needs to ask himself some searching questions. Shigemori and Misumi hold an obvious - and sometimes literal - mirror to each other, with Fukuyama's character again having to be the one to concede, much as Hiroshi Abe finds himself in "Still Walking" and "After the Storm".

Stylistically, there are perhaps some more mainstream cinema staples put to use, Kore-eda perhaps trying to take himself out of the comfort zone he may have slipped into. Shigemori's dream sequence is somewhat out-of-the-norm, as well as attempts at more poignant visuals to music, in an attempt to create iconic shots. For some this may be seen as a further decline into mainstream cinema, away from the more masterfully understated work of his first two films. However, it could also be perceived as a bridging of a gap, with the film taking the top awards at the Japan Academy Prizes a step in the right direction for Japanese cinema: one of the nation's best working directors getting his just rewards.

A legal drama, "The Third Murder" doesn't necessarily rely on the suspense of a thriller, but still keeps you watching as to what transpires before you. Despite some differences, this is very much a Kore-eda film: Shigemori, Misumi and Misumi's victim all play the role of weak father figures, with Shigemori's father the grandfather with greater knowledge. No easy solutions are offered, with greater happiness found away from one's initial objectives.

The "face-to-face" scene between Shigemori and Misumi towards the film's end offers some of the iconic shots perhaps aimed for, with Yakusho cementing himself as one of Japan's all-time great actors, deserving of his Best Supporting Actor gong at the Japan Academy Prizes. What starts off as a seemingly bumbling, forgetful and absent-minded fool, develops into a character of many layers. The truth is that Misumi wants to control people. By changing his story, resulting in the outcome Shigemori fought against, Misumi, the murderer, certainly held power over the lives of others
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a courtroom drama
asako14 August 2018
Warning: Spoilers
I'm sure there is some truth in it, but the film chose a quite cynical view on the judiciary system: no one tells or cares about the truth in the courtroom. So what is the 3rd murder? To me, it is the death sentence given to Misumi by such a system, but Koreeda leaves it to each of us to decide who Misumi is, what is the motivation of his puzzling actions, and who actually murdered the factory owner. This film reminded me of Kurosawa's "Rashomon" in the sense that both directors tried too hard, and the delivery is a bit too heavy handed.

Koreeda tackled a new genre in this film, but still weaved in the struggle to be a father, or rather his guilt of being an absent father: the theme most notably expressed in "Like father like son" and in some way in "After the Storm".

I miss the poignant ambiguity of "Maborosi" and gentleness of "After Life" but I'm happy to see him explore something new. Not a bad film, and it certainly deserves a little better rating than current 6.7 out of 10.
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Rare J-courtroom Noir
t-d-t-m8214 May 2019
Superb courtroom movie with astounding acting and stunning cinematography. Almost a documentary-style courtroom movie. A mystery movie with a rare insight into the Japanese legal system. I will seek out the Director's other work. Epic.
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Complicated Machinery of Justice
Raven-196915 January 2019
Justice is more a role of the dice than we expect.

Fresh from a third murder and freely admitting the crime, Misumi is in a surprising state of calm when first speaking to his defense attorney Shigemori. This strange behavior combines with inconsistent testimony and shifting motives to give Shigemori an unsettling feeling about his client. "Don't waste your time trying to figure him out," Shigemori is warned "let him get what he deserves." But this does not sit well with him either. Instead Shigemori attempts to understand Misumi and indulge his changing whims. Perhaps in this way they can get to the truth and the real heart of the matter.

The machinery of justice is complicated, time consuming and unwieldy. Finding the truth is more difficult than imagined. Justice is often by default. The Third Murder explores how futures are decided for people with little heed to what is done by, for and against them. The insight into the Japanese justice system is intriguing. Wonderful acting is complemented by creative camera work. There are frequent and beneficial pauses that give space for reflections and to soothing ambient sounds such as the wind in the tree branches. Still, some scenes are difficult to figure out even after turning them over in my mind continuously.
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Captivating and Suspenseful Whodunit
saniat7 December 2018
This Japanese film is gripping and suspensful, with brilliant acting and stunning, beautiful cinematography. Both a whodunit and psychological thriller, Ignore the adolescent and adolescent-minded reviewers who give it a low rating. Let them stick to action Marvel cartoons. (not that I mind brainless enetertainment every now and then).

This award winning film is for thinking film lovers. Some of the scenes are a montage of beautiful photos. The acting is superb, and the debate among the defense lawyers over strategy and truth is a reflection on morals and justice. Witty and funny, not pedantic. The main characters are all believable, well acted. The story unfolds slowly, via many tangential but related scenes. The "truth" behind the murder is both revelatory and believable. No Hollywood endings here.

In short, this is a well crafted, beautifully shot and gripping drama. If you love great moviemaking, don't miss it !
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finding the truth
cdcrb20 August 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Lawyers defending a man, who has already killed twice before. sounds like a tough gig. this is a wonderful movie. as with all things, there are at least two sides to every story. the acting is great. one of the best films I've seen this year. 2018.
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a moral tale
cdcrb22 July 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Some movies just grab you. nothing happens here. it's very quiet. some lawyers investigating a murder. that's it. several folks walked out. I loved it. your move.
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Too long
bmarcus6723 November 2018
This film was too long to only come to a horrible ending..wanted the movie to be over..
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The Japanese judicial system, it turns out, is very different from everybody else's
christopher-underwood25 January 2019
Included in the extras on the Arrow disc of this film is a very thoughtful piece by Tony Rayns. He was careful to avoid as many spoilers as possible and as it turns out I would have done well to listen to him before watching the film. The Japanese judicial system, it turns out, is very different from everybody else's and the 'trial', it would seem is no such thing. Even with the recently reintroduced jury (who seem to play little part) the defendant is pretty much assumed guilty and the whole procedure an opportunity for society, in the form of the judge, to smooth things over and be as precise as possible as to sentence. All this would have helped when watching this rather long and complicated tale. Most of the 'complications' however occur in the matter surrounding admission of guilt and the fact that here, the truth and actual guilt are a moving feast (complete with seeming unreal flat-backs) makes for a difficult ride for the uninitiated. Powerful, nevertheless, with fine central performances and whilst I felt watching the film, that one viewing would be enough, learning more has led me to suppose another viewing might be more enjoyable.
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The Art of Pathological Lying.
net_orders7 December 2018
Warning: Spoilers
THE THIRD MURDER (SANDOME NO SATSUJIN). Viewed on DVD. Director Hirokazu Koreeda (who is also the script writer and movie editor) launches a gripping who-done-it mystery packed with red herrings and loose ends, but also filled with clues for the discerning viewer to contemplate and, possibly, figure out just where the truth may lie in a ocean of lies. Koreeda also provides a fascinating (if accurate) "insider's" view of murder trials as theater using a script developed in pretrial "discovery" meetings (and rewritten behind the scenes during the trial) involving defense and prosecution lawyers with the trial judge acting as a mediator (and de factor script editor) all in the name of preserving trial harmony (and scheduling)! The Director's tale concerns a recently paroled (after serving a 30-year sentence) killer who committed the first murder and may have single-handedly committed a second one. Or might not have which raises the possibility of a metaphorical "third" murder. Then there is the potential for a third murder if an innocent person is executed. Known to the police as a pathological liar, the suspect seems to have turned himself in and readily confessed to the murder of his boss who ran a shady food distribution business. There is also the boss's crippled high-school daughter who claims her father has continually raped her, and a wife who seems to willfully ignore just about everything (or maybe not). The daughter may also be a chronic liar along with her mother who may have arranged for a contract killing of her husband by the suspect (or maybe not). Then there is the possibility that the suspect and the crippled daughter (the daughter may have be crippled as a result of a failed suicide) might be lovers and have carefully planned and carried out the murder together. And/or someone else may have done the deed. It now falls to the defense lawyers to find out what may have really occurred, since police detectives and the prosecution have fully accepted the confession of the ostensible killer. (The defense lawyers are doing what the police should have done.) This is not so much a courtroom drama as it is a prisoner/lawyer interview room drama with close to half of the movie taking place in a tiny partitioned space slightly larger than an elevator chamber. The interplay between veteran actors portraying the suspect and lead defense lawyer is intense and Koreeda's directing skills are on full display. That said, the movie is bit slow here and there (especially at the beginning), and could be transitionally boring for some viewers. Flashback scenes can be confusing and could benefit from re-editing (especially the initial ones in Hokkaido). A major irritation is when the lighting director tries to show off by partially/ totally obscuring the faces of speaking actors in shadow. Surround sound fields are weak or essentially missing. Music (mostly keyboard and cello) is fine. Subtitles and translations are first rate with all signs and credits translated (a rarity for a Japanese film!). Recommended (and that's not a lie!). WILLIAM FLANIGAN, PhD. Details: subtitles = 10 stars; cinematography (2.35 : 1, color, DCP) = 8 stars; DVD = 8 stars; direction = 7 stars; music = 7 stars; performances = 7 stars; editing = 5 stars; lighting = 4/5 stars; sound = 4/5 stars.
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Koreeda's gentle and excellent movie about killing
gortx25 October 2018
Warning: Spoilers
THE THIRD MURDER is a gentle movie about killing. While that may sound contradictory, it isn't in the hands of Japanese master Hirokazu Koreeda, one of our most humane filmmakers.

The movie begins with the brutal murder, robbery and immolation of a factory manager. The accused killer Misumi (Koji Yakusho) immediately confesses. His lawyers, led by Shigamuri (Masaharu Fukuyama) try to convince him to at least not to confess to premeditated robbery (Japanese law mandates the Death Penalty for Murder in those cases). After several machinations, the case goes to trial.

That is the 'plot' of the movie, but, it's not what Koreeda (who also wrote and edited the picture) intends the movie to be about. Instead, Koreeda explores what are the psychological and practical reasons for murder. Whether murder is ever justified. And, even whether a murderer like Misumi has value as a human being. For the lawyer, it isn't about 'the law' or even representing his client, as much as the movie delves into whether the truth matters as all to his defense work - or, even if it's important that he knows for certain his client's guilt or innocence (there's a marvelous overhead shot of Shigamuri that concisely symbolizes the various threads his character goes through). While THIRD MURDER isn't as plot and twist driven as a John Grisham novel, neither is it simply a philosophical art-house film. There are plenty of angles and turns in story (no spoilers here). The cat & mouse between the accused and even his own lawyers is fascinatingly drawn. Fukyama and Yakusho (who won the Japanese 'Oscar'*) deliver fine performances. The photography and editing in their scenes together (especially when they at head to head through a prison glass window) are a master class in mounting tension.

THIRD MURDER never takes the easy way out. There is no 'Perry Mason' moment where it all clicks into place. One has to be an active participant in unlocking the story's mysteries and meanings. Koreeda isn't a showy filmmaker (OUR LITTLE SISTER, Cannes Palme D'or winner SHOPLIFTERS), but he uses the camera, sound, editing and music to create an almost hypnotic air. About half-way through there's an amazing sequence which begins as a flashback and then melds into another character's projection -- seamlessly. THIRD MURDER is another exemplary entry in Koreeda's filmography. Also, seamlessly.
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