(This is the Killing for The Prosecution film review, which is a 2018 Japanese prosecutor film that is based on the novel Kensatsugawa no Zainin)
This film contains some of the biggest stars in Japanese film industry such as Takuya Kimura and Kazunari Ninomiya. It is directed by an equally renowned director Masato Harada. Its whole premise is based on the novel Kensatsugawa no Zainin by Shusuke Shizukui. At first glance, it seems to depict a fairly common premise that is cliché in this genre, where a murder happens and a prosecutor needs to prove the killer’s guilt. However, could this film actually change our mind about it with its unexpected quality? Read on the Killing for The Prosecution film review to find out!
When a murder happened and the prosecutor remembered about the murderer’s past doing, he is hell-bent on proving the guilt but there is not much evidence to be found. Now, the line between personal feelings and lawful conduct starts to get blurred as the prosecutor’s moral is judged by both the law and himself. Could he successfully prove his case?
Killing for The Prosecution Film Review
Plot-wise, the film takes its time in setting up its characters and it may feel a bit meandering as there are many scenes which seem unrelated and you’re not quite sure why you’re watching it. They serve to set up the main characters as real people, to let the audience understand how they think, what they’ve been through and also all these seemingly unrelated threads come together magnificently when the main Conflict is finally revealed. The pacing although not the best is none too shabby especially after the main conflict is introduced.
I think the biggest strength of the film is truly its characters. Takuya Kimura turns in an excellent performance and his arc is actually pretty well done. You do empathise and understand his actions and a lot of his emotional anguish and turmoil, the height of it is actually edited out. Rather we see the beginnings of his breakdown, we see it simmering and about to boil over and instead of getting an emotional release, we jarringly cut to his next course of action. It was odd but actually worked rather well. I also loved the dynamic between the other male lead and female lead, a lot of it was very subtle too. The female lead arc was also rather interesting. I would say the most underdeveloped character is actually the other male lead but he has a standout scene as he interrogates one of the suspects and I think might be one of the best interrogation scenes I’ve ever had the pleasure to witness. In general, the whole cast does a pretty good job and they all have memorable scenes, to be honest, too many to individually list out.
The cinematography was pretty well done and the editing was rather different from what I’m used to. I’m unsure whether it was an artistic decision but certain jarring cuts worked in the moment so I felt like it is indeed a purposeful thing. I think there’s a little bit of Jap humor that I didn’t quite get but there are brief moments of levity in the film too.
This film is best summarised by the sentence: The law is black and white but lawyers are flawed humans with emotions and are alas, grey. I’m glad I watched this film I really did not expect to enjoy it this much.