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.



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