Synopsis by Mark Deming
One young man's struggle to find happiness in a family and a city fraught with strife sets the stage for this coming-of-age drama. Shuji (Yuya Tegoshi) and Shuichi are two brothers who were born and raised in Hama, a city in Western Japan. Shuichi is an ambitious young man who is determined to make something of himself, while Shuji is a quieter sort who is willing to let his brother be the star of the family. Hama becomes an increasingly difficult place to live, as a resort project designed to economically jump-start the city proves to be a massive failure and it's discovered that the village priest, Father Yuichi (Etsushi Toyokawa), has a scandalous past. The tensions of life in Hama become too much for Shuichi, who begins setting fire to buildings to vent his rage. Shuji, meanwhile, has taken solace in a romance with Eri (Hanae Kan), a girl from his school who has become an outcast after her parents killed themselves. Shuichi is finally captured by the police for his string of arsons, and is sent to jail; his parents go missing shortly afterward, and Father Yuichi struggles to hold the family together by keeping Shuichi in contact with his brother Shuji. Shuji falls into a deep depression and contemplates suicide, but instead decides he needs to see Eri. However, she has moved to Tokyo, so Shuji sets out to find her. En route, he becomes friendly with a woman named Akane (Miki Nakatani), which puts him in great danger when he learns she's the girlfriend of a notorious gangster. Shisso (aka Dead Run) received its North American premiere at the 2005 New Montreal Film Festival.