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Villain (Akunin, 悪人)

Director – Lee Sang-il – 2010 – Japan – Cert.15 – 140m

*****

Unrequited love, a murder mystery and two lovers on the run – UK DVD release date 05/12/2011

This remarkable Japanese movie (which picked up 15 Japanese Oscars and won five) has stayed with and haunted me since its UK theatrical release last year. At once a crime thriller and a romantic drama, it’s a tale of love requited and otherwise, of petty callousness, goodness and evil. Its tale of two fugitive lovers throws into question the morality of its two secondary leads – a murdered girl and her murder suspect. As the trailer asks, who is the real villain?

Construction worker Yuichi (Satoshi TsumabukiShape Of Red, Yukiko Mishima, 2020) dutifully lives with and cares for his elderly grandparents in a mundane fishing village. Burning the candle at both ends, he drives his fast, flashy car into the city to see office worker Yoshino (Hikari MitsushimaLove Exposure, Sion Sono, 2008), the girl he met on an internet dating site. But she is only using him for sex, setting her sights instead on disinterested, rich college kid Masuo (Masaki Okada), climbing into his car when opportunity presents itself within eyesight of Yuichi – who follows the car.… Read the rest