Keiho Dai Sanjyukyu Jyo (1999)

Genres - Mystery  |   Run Time - 132 min.  |   Countries - Japan  |  
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Yoshimitsu Morita's long filmography includes everything from art-house hits to romantic drama by way of porno comedies, but Keiho is his first psychological mystery-thriller. Keiho diverts from recent Japanese thrillers as its focus is not so much a journey into existential darkness, but emergence of long-hidden secrets through patient investigation. Stage actor Masaki Shibata Shinichi Tsutsumi has murdered a man and his wife. He confesses his crime; he says his motive was that the woman, who is five months pregnant, criticized his one-man show. It could be an open-and-shut case except for the 'diminished responsibility' clause of Japan's criminal law. Masaki has to go through psychological examination to determine his sanity. A police psychiatrist declares he has a split personality, but his female assistant, named Kafka as a result of her father's literary tastes, does not agree. She begins her own research into Shibata's background and comes up with disturbing discoveries. On the other hand, a cocky police detective is also busy doing his own investigation and comes up with evidence that the victim raped and killed a girl when he was a teenager, but escaped punishment for the crime because a psychiatric examination found him not guilty. Further investigation reveals hidden identities, but the mystery is never solved. As the curtain falls, we are informed that the case is still continuing. It is not the crime or the criminal that is being explored so much as the complications of human psyche, but it is somewhat too confusing for the viewer, whose interest cannot be sustained with the incomprehensible twists and turns of the plot. Keiho Dai sanjyukyu jyo was one shown in competition at the 49th International Berlin Film Festival in 1999.