2 1/2 stars

A Japanese murder mystery with an interesting structure. We are introduced to the crime scene and the homicide detectives in the first scenes, but then instead of following the detectives, we follow three distinct stories. In one, a dockworker (Ken Watanabe, the most recognizable actor to North American audiences) brings home his daughter who had run away to a brothel, and then watches carefully as she develops feelings for the new young dockhand. In another storyline, a gay officeworker with a dying mother connects with mysteriously homeless young man in a bathhouse. The third story follows a young woman who takes a boat out to an abandoned island only to find a young squatter hanging about.

As you come to understand that there is no seeming connection to these three stories, you simultaneously realize that one of the young men in question must be the murderer. Despite this original structure and interesting performances (though the characters, in some cases, have vague motivations) the movie suffers from slow pacing, which wouldn’t have been such a bad thing, were the movie shorter than its 2 1/2 hour runtime.


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