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.
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.
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.
Jong-su bumps into a girl who used to live in the same neighborhood as him, who asks him to look after her cat while on a trip to Africa. When back, she introduces Ben, a mysterious guy she met there, who confesses his secret hobby.
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 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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