This latest from festival favorite Hirokazu Kore-eda (“Still Walking,” “Nobody Knows”) marks an alluring departure from the sage meditations on family life for which the Japanese maestro is known. This arresting new film belongs, rather, to that most irresistible of categories: the murder mystery.
Yet, this being Kore-eda, it comes as no surprise that “The Third Murder” (Sandome no Satsujin proves to be much more than a genre exercise. It seems clear from the first scene that Misumi (international superstar Kôji Yakusho) robbed and killed an industrialist — Misumi freely admits as much, claiming he was desperate to settle a gambling debt. But defense attorney Shigemori (Masaharu Fukuyama, star of Kore-eda’s “Like Father, Like Son”) isn’t entirely satisfied with his mild-mannered client’s testimony.
As Shigemori and his team go about their research, secret histories are brought to light, inconsistencies surface and unlikely alliances point to a more complicated set of circumstances.
LAAPFF runs until May 12. For a complete schedule of films, visit http://festival.vconline.org.