About the Film
Compassionate filmmaker par excellence Hirokazu Kore-eda switches gears and delivers a potent, skillfully nuanced crime story with his latest multi-layered meditation on the human condition, The Third Murder. The Japanese master takes what could have been a straightforward murder drama with the usual lawyer-client trappings, and transforms
what’s already an intriguing narrative into a thought-provoking exploration of guilt, with ramifications that go far beyond the big screen. The result smashes the concept of capital punishment and guides audiences to contemplate the very meaning of innocence, and its opposite.
Right from the start, there’s no ambiguity of who committed the crime. Misumi Takashi (Yakushi Koji) admits to killing his former boss, and besides, he’s already spent thirty years behind bars for a double murder. His defense attorney Shigemori (Fukuyama Masaharu) isn’t much interested in the personalities involved, he just wants to show
off his ability to manipulate the law in a way that makes him feel he’s won the game. But then Misumi keeps changing his story, and as the people involved shift from one to three dimensions, the whole notion of guilt and extenuating circumstances is called into question, via riveting conversations beautifully shot across the glass wall dividing
prisoners from visitors, the director turns the usual legal defense spectacle on its head, insisting on human nature over courtroom pyrotechnics.
Following his breakout 1998 film After Life, Japanese director and writer Hirokazu Kore-eda has been recognized as a leading exponent of a deeply humanistic cinema. In master works such as Nobody Knows (2004) and Like Father, Like Son (2013), he’s explored the meaning of family, entering into a nuanced understanding of child-parent dynamics with a subtlety that’s matched only by its understanding. Long a mainstay of international film festivals, the director has an impressive number of awards to his credit, and his recognizable touch has become an influential reference point for many filmmakers working today.