The Third Murder
(Sandome no satsujin)
Masaharu Fukuyama, Koji Yakusho, Suzu Hirose,
In a change of tone and focus, master director Hirokazu Kore-eda’s latest film is a tour-de-force examination of guilt and justice. A young defense attorney is called in to help with what seems like the straightforward case of an admitted killer. Misumi (the incomparable Koji Yakusho) genially claims responsibility for the murder of a wealthy factory owner, but his story shifts with alarming frequency. His odd behavior raises doubts for the pragmatic lawyer, who begins to suspect that Misumi is hiding a more complicated truth.
“Mystery skirts metaphysics and a courtroom turns out to be no place to determine the truth in Kore-eda Hirokazu’s mysteriously beautiful The Third Murder. Everything that is obvious and straightforward in the first scene (we even get a good look at the murderer’s face) is cast into doubt by the end of the film, posing serious questions about the judicial system and the concept of judging another human being.”—Deborah Young, Hollywood Reporter
“Kore-eda invites his audience to join his search, and by the time The Third Murder comes to an end, the lawyer’s need to understand becomes one’s own, as does the alienating realization that the truth may be forever beyond one’s grasp. ‘Is that what you thought I did?’ Misumi asks Shigemori after the lawyer tells him what he thinks happened the night of the murder. ‘That’s a very nice story.’”—Leonardo Goi, Cinema Scope