The Breath (1995)

Genres - Mystery  |   Sub-Genres - Detective Film  |   Run Time - 138 min.  |   Countries - Japan, Taiwan  |   MPAA Rating - R
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Ingmar Bergman meets Phillip Marlow in this brooding metaphysical work directed by veteran filmmaker Kaizo Hayashi. The film centers on Haida (Juro Kara), a private dick who has descended into a drug-induced haze for a number of years. Just after he gets out of rehab, his police friend (Haruko Wanibuchi) hands him a case: a Japanese college student who disappeared in Taiwan five years previous. While stumbling about along a riverbank in Taipei, Haida gets a bad case of cold turkey; his legs go limp, sending him headfirst into the water. He floats downstream until he runs into the semi-conscious body of a would-be suicide named Sakatani (Shigeo Harada). Later, Haida happens upon a young woman called Mariko (Tang Na) who knew the missing Japanese. Unfortunately, since Haida doesn't speak a word of Chinese, Haida communicates with her through writing in the Chinese characters common in both languages. Soon afterwards, he runs into Sakatani -- who turns out to be an ex-pat engaged in shady ventures -- and Sakatani's sultry assistant (Ni Shujun) who loathes Haida from the outset. As the film progresses, Mariko disappears and Sakatani proves to be one ugly character.

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Keywords

abuse, addiction, detective, drugs, investigator, missing, redemption, rescue, search, suicide, withdrawal