(This is The Third Murder film review, which is Japanese movie released in 2017)
The Third Murder is a Japanese legal thriller film directed by the famous Hirokazu Kore-eda, who has directed several hit films in the past. In this film, it seems to follow the common formula for the genre, where a lawyer has to defend a murderer before she is sentenced to death. However, with Hirokazu at the helm, perhaps we could see something with a different twist? Read on below for The Third Murder film review to find out!
A lawyer is tasked with defending a murderer that has already confessed to her crime, yet he found some unnerving clues that could lead him to a different conclusion. With the murderer already having prior convictions, could he manage to save his client from facing the death penalty?
The Third Murder Film Review
This is a movie about Japanese courtroom drama/mystery. However, how I would personally describe is that it is a literary masterpiece of a film filled with such depth that one viewing is simply not enough to fully digest it and I wholly regret not having caught it in cinemas.
Plot-wise, our main character is a defense lawyer for an unreliable narrator of a client who constantly changes his tune. As for pacing, it is slow and methodical which might turn some viewers off but it’s a film that, if you let it, will quietly and unknowingly take your breath away. This film is so subtle at drawing you in but before I knew it I was wholly engrossed in its mystery and I literally cannot remember the last time a mystery has gripped me so effectively. There’s just so many twists and turns, so many themes, so much going on and yet it feels fresh and original.
Character-wise, the standouts are the defense lawyer, accused and the victim’s daughter. Their performances are surprisingly nuanced and it distinguishes itself from the usual over the top Japanese acting. Their portrayal of the characters felt so real, so intimate and was one of the key factors that drew me into this film so much and I was 100% emotionally invested in the characters. It really felt like I wasn’t watching a film but I was witnessing something grounded in reality.
Speaking of reality, its cinematography also played a key part and I don’t quite know how to describe it but it had a very rustic, intimate feel to it and it barely felt cinematic which might not be good to certain films but it entirely worked for this film. Some of the most beautiful scenes in this film also had superb lighting which I believe is actually all natural. You kind of felt like you were a fly on the wall in certain scenes and I found it just… Felt so tranquil. Words are truly not enough to convey my feelings towards this film or perhaps I’m just not as good a writer as I think I am.
This film brings up some rather thought-provoking questions and it legitimately brought my mind to some dark places and everyone should watch it.