The Third Murder (2017) | Venice Film Festival 2017
The central character is the suave and convincing lawyer Shigemori (Fukuyama Masaharu/Like Father, Like Son) who is called to investigate the case of a man who has spent three decades in prison for a double murder and has subsequently confessed to killing his factory-owning boss and burning his body. We witness the murder in the opening scene so clearly Misumi (Yakusho Koji) is guilty; strangely, it is Shigemori’s father who handed him a life sentence, instead of the death penalty, putting paid to his recidivist ways, but times have changes.
The problem is he keeps changing his version of what happened.
Shigemori, the son of a retired judge, and his remit is to free his client by hook or by crook, constantly writing and re-writing his script to present the best chance of a get-out clause for the murderer. His own personal life is a mess, separated from his wife and at odds with his daughter, showing her none of his professional prowess when she is caught for shop-lifting. As he grows closer to Misumi, over the course of their encounters, the two seem to feel strangely similar in their modus operandi, albeit on either sides of the law.
This is a subtle but thematically rich crime thriller brilliant in concept but less so in execution, despite Takimoto Makiya’s stunning camerwork. That said, its universal themes ripple out to provide endless food for thought as we contemplate Ludovico Einaudi’s moody score. MT
VENICE FILM FESTIVAL 2017 | IN COMPETITION