Home > Film, Reviews > Film Review: “Villain” – Based On The Award Winning Novel By Shuichi Yoshida.

Film Review: “Villain” – Based On The Award Winning Novel By Shuichi Yoshida.

“Villain” beautifully describes the dark side of human beings in Japanese society.

Yuichi (Satoshi Tsumabuki) is a construction worker who has lived his entire life in a dreary fishing village. With no girlfriend or friends, he spends his days working and looking after his grandparents, with no enjoyment in life other than his car.

Meanwhile, Mitsuyo (Eri Fukatsu) also lives a monotonous life pacing between the men’s clothing store where she works and the apartment where she lives with her sister. When the two lonely souls meet using an online dating site, they immediately fall in love with each other. But there’s a secret Yuichi had been keeping from Mitsuyo: Yuichi is the one suspected of killing the woman whose body was found at Mitsue Pass only a few days before…

As Yuichi and his new lover try to elude the police, the events that led up to the murder and its aftermath are revealed. We learn the stories of the victim, the murderer, and their families – stories of loneliness, love hotels, violence and desperation, exposing the inner lives of men and woman who are not everything they appear to be.

Who is the true “villain” here? (Synopsis taken from Third Window Films website)

(Photo courtesy of Third Window Films)

Japan is a country of “harmony”. Its people have formed their society with precise punctuality and accuracy, where everyone sticks to their regular routines without distracting other people. Young children get told at school, ‘Never disturb or bother your neighbour. Always listen to other people’s opinions first and hide your emotions. Then it is possible to keep the perfect harmony of this society.’ That is how Japanese people live their lives and how the society is kept peacefully run and organized.

However, when people realise that there is no way to express their emotions in public freely, all the frustrations and secret desires will be saved up somewhere in their mind, hidden deeply like magma as if they were to wait for a huge explosion. They will appear all of sudden once the person’s mind capacity gets full. It could be some weird crimes committed by ordinary looking people that nobody could ever expect.

Yuichi’s crime and its background explain a lot about the frustration that ordinary looking Japanese people have in these days. He does not seem satisfied with his life but looks after his grandparents without complaining and goes to work every day because that is his regular routine. Surely what he is expected to do is not always something that he wants to do. Mitsuyo is the same. She goes to her boring job that she does not particularly enjoy but she goes to work every day without doubting that the job is worthless. They both probably wanted to believe that the situation will change someday, but they did not know how or when.

(Photo courtesy of Third Window Films)

The monotonous repetition of daily life can make ordinary people go crazy and out of mind if there is no way to escape from the tasteless days. Yuichi and Mitsuyo are representing those young Japanese generation, who have only been provided enough materialistically. They are feeling strong hunger to meet someone to fulfill their emotional parts of their lives. The method of finding somebody through internet is such an instant and easy way for young generation. It feels like the same way that they talk to somebody on the same train. If the opponent wants the same thing, there is no need for a long conversation but an appointment to meet up. Cyber dating can prevent any sudden exposure of actual ugly facts and that is why lots of people decide to choose this way. Yuichi and Mitsuyo both eagerly wanted to meet somebody, but presumably they did not want to show their actual state of their boring lives and felt embarrassed to discuss it. Shyness and embarrassment are the key factors of Japanese people’s mentality and those things make this film realistic and familiar.

Villain beautifully describes the dark side of human beings in Japanese society and it is definitely worth watching to see the real Japanese psychology. Japanese people are known as shy and polite people, which mean they do not show what they are actually thinking in their mind. What people can see is only the surface and truth is always hidden somewhere deep inside.

(Photo courtesy of Third Window Films)

Dir: Lee Sang-il       

Writer: Shuichi Yoshida, Lee Sang-il    
Cast: Satoshi Tsumabuki, Eri Fukatsu, Masaki Okada, Hikari Mitsushima, Kirin Kiki

Original Title: Akunin 

Country: Japan  

Year of Production:  2010   

Rating: 15       

Genre: Drama  
Running Time: 140 mins
Original Language: Japanese
Author profile:

Alika Mochida is an Enka (Japanese blues) singer. She started singing Enka at the age of three. She studied drama in Cambrige and contemporary music in London and started working as a professional singer in 2009. She has performed at many occasions such as WOMAD 2010, HYPER JAPAN, and Japan Matsuri 2009 & 2010.  Alika will be performing as a guest singer for J-factor (singing competition) at the upcoming event, Japan Matsuri 2011, as well as showcasing some Japanese folk music with Tsugaru Shamisen virtuoso, Hibiki Ichikawa.

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Categories: Film, Reviews

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