It’s unexpected và wonderful khổng lồ see Hirokazu Kore-eda going through something of a career resurgence after winning the Palme d’Or for his upcoming “Shoplifters.” He’s quite simply one of the most important filmmakers in the world, và it’s so nice lớn see people talking about discovering his best works after hearing about the recent win—films lượt thích “Nobody Knows,” “Still Walking” and “After Life.” Even last year’s “After the Storm” qualifies as top-tier Kore-eda, and the Palme win will likely bring more people to it. In between that excellent movie & “Shoplifters” later this year, we get what could be called a bonus film, the legal procedural “The Third Murder,” which premiered at Venice last year và is getting a limited release this week. This distillation of the difference between law và justice was considered outside of the box for Kore-eda in that most of his films are about family dynamics, but one can still see Kore-eda’s brilliance with character and consideration of the human condition in this drama. It’s not as much of a genre leap if you consider the fact that Kore-eda is much more interested in the people than the specifics of the case.

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He makes it clear that this will be a human-driven murder story from the very beginning by showing us the crime. There’s no mystery as lớn whether or not Misumi (the amazing Kōji Yakusho, most well-known for “13 Assassins” in the States) killed his boss. We see it happen. Misumi strikes him in the back of the head with a hammer & burns the body. This might lead viewers to lớn believe that the film to lớn follow will be about a legal team suckered into helping acquit a guilty man, but that’s not this movie either. Kore-eda is much more interested in how the legal system often can’t hold up when cases get complex and emotionally fraught. It’s about the why of the murder that opens the film & not the who or the how. Và it’s the why that’s the hardest for a legal system to lớn take into account.

“The Third Murder” cuts to lớn a famous attorney named Tomoaki Shigemori (the also-amazing Masaharu Fukuyama, who starred in Kore-eda’s “Like Father, lượt thích Son”), who gets the Misumi case after his client has confessed. He killed him for money. He had some gambling debts and needed the cash. Immediately, something doesn’t seem right to lớn Shigemori. The dead man’s wallet smells like gasoline, which means that Misumi took it after burning the body. Why would he vì that if the money was his motive? và then Shigemori starts questioning some of the behavior of the people around the case, including the widow who may have had an insurance-driven motive lớn want her husband dead.

The first hour of “The Third Murder” is a fascinating procedural as the question of motive và some details about the Japanese legal system come to lớn the fore. It turns out that the system is more lenient on grudge-based murder than that done for profit. In other words, if it was for money, Misumi could get the death penalty but wouldn’t if there was another reason for the crime. The question of why hovers in the air for that first hour as we watch Shigemori and his team get to the truth simply by doing their jobs very, very well. I’ve always been drawn to films that capture the process of an important job well done.

The second hour doesn’t work quite as well as Kore-eda drags out the actual courtroom drama out a bit too long. He’s such a precise filmmaker that it’s surprising how bloated some of this part of the film feels, & especially surprising to see the movie get repetitive in terms of plotting and theme. We get what happened and why as Shigemori starts to lớn figure it out but “The Third Murder” mistakenly feels the need khổng lồ repeat details over & over again to the point that the film loses some of the strength it could have had were it subtler.

What keeps it going even in that second hour is Kore-eda’s work with performers. Fukuyama, also seen recently in John Woo’s “Manhunt,” và Yakusho are both phenomenal here, carrying every scene they’re in as two men who seem to be from very different backgrounds but may have more in common than they think when it comes lớn the concept of justice. Kore-eda’s films often break down standard institutions—most commonly the varying definitions of the word family—and so “The Third Murder” fits in that aspect of his filmography. It will likely fall through the cracks a bit between “After the Storm” và “Shoplifters,” but it’s worth the time for fans of Kore-eda, a group that seems lớn be growing every day.


Brian Tallerico

Brian Tallerico is the Managing Editor of Roger, and also covers television, film, Blu-ray, and đoạn clip games. He is also a writer for Vulture, The Playlist,The new york Times, và GQ,and the President of the Chicago Film Critics Association.

The Third Murder makes satisfying work of its weighty themes, even if it doesn"t quite stand with writer-director Hirokazu Koreeda"s best efforts. Read critic review

The Third Murder (2017)
The Third Murder (2017)
The Third Murder (2017)

Well-known attorney Shigemori takes on the defense of murder-robbery suspect Misumi, who served jail time for another murder 30 years ago. Shigemori"s chances of winning the case seem low, as his client freely admits his guilt, even though he faces the death penalty if convicted. But as he digs deeper into the case, hearing the testimonies of the victim"s family và Misumi himself, Shigemori begins to lớn doubt whether his client is actually the murderer.

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Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery và thriller

Original Language: Japanese

Release Date (Theaters): Jul 20, 2018 limited

Release Date (Streaming): Nov 13, 2018

Box Office (Gross USA): $89.3K

Runtime: 2h 5m

Distributor: Film Movement

Production Co: Amuse Films

Sound Mix: Dolby Digital

Aspect Ratio: Scope (2.35:1)

Cast & Crew

Masaharu Fukuyama


Kôji Yakusho


Shinnosuke Mitsushima

Kawashima Akira

Mikako Ichikawa

Sasabara Itsuki

Izumi Matsuoka

Hattori Akiko

Isao Hashizume

Shigemori Akihisa

Suzu Hirose


Hajime Inoue

Ono Minoru

Aju Makita

Shigemori Yuka

Yuki Saito

Yamanaka Mitsue

Kôtarô Yoshida

Settsu Daisuke

Hirokazu Koreeda


Hirokazu Koreeda


Ludovico Einaudi

Original Music

Mikiya Takimoto


Hirokazu Koreeda

Film Editing

Yohei Taneda

Production thiết kế

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All Critics (83) | top Critics (22) | Fresh (72) | Rotten (11)
Full Review… Ben Sachs Chicago Reader Full Review… Adam Graham Detroit News Full Review… Moira Mac
Donald Seattle Times Full Review… Richard Whittaker Austin Chronicle Full Review… G. Allen Johnson San Francisco Chronicle Full Review… Joe Morgenstern Wall Street Journal Full Review… Grant Watson Fiction Machine Full Review… Andrew Heskins eastern Full Review… Ricardo Gallegos Pólvora Full Review… Panos Kotzathanasis Asian Movie Pulse Full Review… Víctor López G. Espinof Full Review… Siddhant Adlakha Slashfilm
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