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Kore-eda, the prolific director of gentle family dramas (Like Father, Like Son, Our Little Sister, After the Storm) successfully changes pace for The Third Murder, a courtroom dramacum- police procedural, which is as close to a genre offering as we have seen from this director.
The film opens with Misumi (Kôji Yakusho) killing the manager of the factory where he was employed. Misumi, who has just been released from prison for a murder committed in the 1980s, has confessed and appears certain to receive the death penalty (the titular third murder, perhaps). His state defender, Shigemori (Masaharu Fukuyama) is the son of the retired judge who presided over Misumi’s earlier crime. An open and- shut case becomes ever more complex as the motives of the slippery Misumi become blurred as disturbing new evidence comes to light.
(Notes by David O’Mahony.)
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