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Shirayuki hime satsujin jiken
Shirayuki hime satsujin jiken (2014)
  • Director:
    Yoshihiro Nakamura
  • Category:
  • Writer:
    Kanae Minato
  • Cast:
    Mao Inoue,Gô Ayano,Nanao
  • Time:
    2h 6min
  • Year:
When a senior employee, who is considered the most attractive among her colleagues, at a cosmetics manufacturer is murdered suspicion falls on her junior coworker whom many describe as plain and unremarkable. Following a good-bye party at work the junior employee is seen running towards the train station before she drops out of sight. It is an open-and-shut case as far as the news reports and online commentators are concerned.
Credited cast:
Mao Inoue Mao Inoue - Miki Shirono
Gô Ayano Gô Ayano - Yuji Akahoshi
Nanao Nanao - Noriko Miki (Snow white)
Misako Renbutsu Misako Renbutsu - Risako Karino
Nobuaki Kaneko Nobuaki Kaneko - Satoshi Shinoyama
Shihori Kanjiya Shihori Kanjiya - Yuko Tanimura
Erena Ono Erena Ono - Eimi Mitsushima
Mitsuki Tanimura Mitsuki Tanimura - Minori Maetani
Katsuhisa Namase Katsuhisa Namase - Mizutani (TV show's host)
Shunsuke Daitô Shunsuke Daitô - Shingo Eto
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Shôta Sometani Shôta Sometani - Hasegawa

Shirayuki hime satsujin jiken (2014)
This crime suspense is definitely worth your money since it includes so many elements: apart from the usual murder suspense and guess who is the killer, weaved into the mystery is the role of twitter and gossip-style TV programmes. Also, buried into the core of the murder of the beautiful snow white office lady Noriko Miki (Nanao) is the fundamental belief/myth that beauty is often associated with a positive personality. Added to all these is how we choose/reconstruct our memory and express ourselves.

With such a rich plot the script and direction has to be systematically laid out and they do. The audience can easily be sucked into the story from the beginning when TV crew Yuji Akahoshi (Go Ayano) goes to a friend Risako Karino (Misako Renbutsu)'s house to be informed of a murder in her company.

The movie opens well and creates an impression that the beautiful Noriko (Snow White) is nice and kind and innocent. As the story slowly unfolds, we discover that she is not as perfect as she appears to be and our main suspect, her co-worker Miki Shirono (Mao Inoue) is not as bad as she seems. The way the movie lays out testimonials from different people who talk about their selected reality or even lie about it is very enticing.

It is sort of like Rashomon but despite all these different versions there is got to be only one reality. Therefore it becomes very interesting deducing each witness' different motives and whether they are lying. It is extremely intriguing to see how colleagues and coworkers perceive the same person and recount their experience with that person differently.

What is most interesting is that their evidence do not add up because it is not a conventional/professional police investigation which supposedly cross-examines different witnesses and irons out conflicting facts. Instead, it is from the point of view of data collection for a juicy talk show and a personal twitter of one of the TV crew. I am not familiar with Japanese justice system but this type of talk show, going on air while police is still investigating the case, could easily cause the TV station to be committing contempt of court.

Other than exposing how human selectively remember/recount their experience, these interviews are also done in absolute free flow. In order words, there are no follow up questions for verification or triangulation of the evidence. Ditto the twitters of the crew. With the explosion of information and democratic use of social media, everyone can act like a journalist or columnist but that might not necessarily lead to fairness or justice. With an unsophisticated audience, the public can easily be misled and even a police investigation could easily be skewed. The situation almost steer into online bully and media trial which is grossly unfair to the people involved. I wish the script could explore more on this aspect.

In a way, there are probably too many characters involved too. Therefore, it may be difficult to depict the main storyline deep enough or the motive plausible enough. The movie seems to lose momentum after the TV crew goes to the suspect's hometown and the audience learn more about the early years of some of the main characters. The ending was somehow weak and meek compared with the enticing beginning and smooth development.

I quite enjoyed the same author Kanae Minato's previous work Confession. But this story is a little overbuilt with a weak end. In terms of crime thriller, I think it is not as good as Gone Girl, although both were written by a female author depicting a female killer. However, the Snow White Murder Case is quite worth watching as it makes you wonder what lies behind each person's façade, regardless of their beauty, their name and their position.
The film starts with Noriko, a tall, young and attractive office lady of a cosmetics company that specializes in making 'Snow White' soap who was brutally stabbed several times and then burned in a national park. When a temporary news director, Akahoshi, who works at a news company hears some insider information from a friend, who works the same company as the victim, he decided to seize the opportunity to find the suspected killer and reveal these details to the public before the police. Akahoshi reveals his investigation online and soon, news spreads across the social media like wildfire.

Adapted from a best-selling Japanese novel by Kanae Minato, The Snow White Murder Case is a well-written, nicely executed and well-acted drama thriller that tells a gripping story with enough twists and turns to sustain viewer's interest along the way. First and foremost, the film pays not much attention to the actual police investigation for the crime, but choose to focus on the public and the people who are connected to the victim or prime suspect instead. It's a modern cautionary tale about the destructive power of social media, how it can twist the fabric of truth. It examines closely how misunderstandings or misinterpretation of a person's character can potentially ruin a person's life.

The film also exposes the judgmental nature of the public in the wake of accessible information online. Throughout the film, you get to see different versions of the same events, as told from different points of view and perspectives from many people, as each person perceives and remembers things differently. However, there are also a few who chose to tell their own version of the events that happened just to get some media attention, effectively blinding the public from the truth. It's actually quite interesting to watch the details of events shift as the film progresses. The film tries to show the audience that things aren't always what they seem to be on the outside. There are so many intricacies of human actions, emotions and intentions that we always fail to perceive, no matter how smart, intelligent or clever we are.

Moreover, the film also tries to show that first impressions can be misleading and appearances can be deceiving. Beautiful women are often invisible to the naked eye. We're always so bedazzled by the outside that we tend to fail to look on the inside. The film slowly takes us deeper into the goings-on in the workplace of the soap company and gives us a brief general look at the fierce competition between women in the workplace and in society. One of the most fascinating aspects of the film is that the viewer's perspective of a certain character changes as the film progresses and we start to empathize her once the truth is slowly revealed through flashbacks which provide an emotional backstory for the main lead. Mao Inoue and Nanao both provide convincing performances in their respective roles, successfully display the multiple facets of their characters well.

The Snow White Murder Case impresses me a lot. It's actually quite rare for a crime drama thriller that has a carefully structured premise with so many ideas to convey. It's one of the most compelling, thought-provoking crime drama thrillers this year. Highly recommended.

Rating: 8.5/10

http://yjcool.blogspot.com/2014/10/movie-review-snow-white-murder- case.html
This is what I love about Japanese cinema. It is not all the time that I could catch a story as gripping as this one. I'm a fan of crime mysteries and this one is a treat! I have "Confessions", a Japanese film, in my mind during my first watch of TSWMC. Although it is not as psychological and as dark as the earlier film, there was still the trademark of the wonderful skill of plot construction of its writer. (Both films are based on her novels) I liked this film even more because of the appearances of Mao Inoue and Mitsuki Tanimura, and also because the theme of the use of social network inappropriately at times is timely and significant. Direction was okay, it did not feel forced and I liked it that way. Actors did really well. Not much of violence were shown. You'll like this even more if you're a fan of plot twists in movies. Personally this is the best Japanese film (if not the best film at all) I've seen this year so far.

(Review previously posted on my Letterboxd account.) I recommend this crime mystery/drama.
When I undertook media studies in high-school, we learned how the internet has granted us unlimited access to knowledge, but besides this, the internet has not given us the ability to acquire the truth, and The Snow White Murder Case (based upon the text by Kanae Minato, which I am yet to read) is a marvelous example of this unfortunate fact.

This highly watchable and influential drama, which efficaciously combines a riveting, intelligent storyline with on screen social media, provides a brutally honest depiction of bullying, peer pressure, and online harassment, encapsulating the feel of not only the media, but the contemporary social climate, complimenting, yet at the same time criticizing the depths of our technological age in a film that is as much a character drama, as it is a documentary.

The feature is a real eye opener, revealing how easily the truth can be manipulated by not only those who produce the media, but those who respond to it, and how the opinion of a single individual can suddenly become the driving influence behind everyone's ideas, truly emphasizing the potency of what we dub viral media.

To have Twitter updates and other social media news cycles appear on screen as the story emerges may seem like an ambitious undertaking that will inevitably distract, or counteract the original intentions of the feature, everything is brilliantly intertwined. The way the screen is occasionally divided, thanks to the incredible camera work and editing, is sublime.

This particular story of jealousy, greed, friendship, family and hardship, begins with the violent murder of Noriko (Nanao), a beautiful employee at a cosmetics company. We are originally unsure of who the murderer is, but the brutality of the crime is a clear indication of the unquantifiable hate needed to enact such overkill.

Risako (Misako Renbutsu), a colleague of the victim, contacts ex-boyfriend Yuji (Gou Ayano), after been interviewed by police. A food critic, Yuji is desperate to rise above his station, and despite Risako asking him for discretion in this matter, he cannot help broadcasting details about the case across the internet. This, coupled with his unhealthy obsession, immediately presents him as a character we can neither respect, nor feel sympathy towards.

Risako mentions a possible suspect, Shirono (Mao Inoue), who inexplicably vanished the same night as the murder, and though it is nothing more than wild speculation, a witch hunt, instigated by Yuji, begins to consume social media as the public becomes enthralled with finding the suspect. In a world where people are meant to be innocent before proved guilty, Shirono is never granted this opportunity, regardless of whether or not she is responsible.

The cast's portrayal of the characters is exceptional (and, as always, Ms. Renbutsu is so unbelievably adorable), though it is Ms. Inoue who is especially magnificent in her role, efficaciously presenting not only her character, but the depictions that colleagues and old acquaintances have of her.

Over the course of the feature, the film exposes how every individual contains the beauty of Snow White, and yet can equally represent the hostility and antagonism of the wicked witch, and despite cultural differences often having a major role to play in society, when it comes down to it, everyone has an agenda, and some people, regardless of where they're from, will do anything to end up on top - even murder.

The musical score that accompanies the scenes, especially the string instruments, brings further emotional quality to the feature, alongside the strong use of imagery. When Yuji traverses around the scene of the crime, the tense atmosphere is so cold and dark, it is utterly foreboding, while in another instance, when a woman admits another young lady was her partner, the image of her intertwined legs resembles those belonging to paramours after a night of passion. Moreover, the occasional use of animation to depict what people are thinking, alongside revealing their vivid imagination, adds an extra level of character depth that benefits the story.

A powerful, dramatic and heartfelt film, The Snow White Murder Case is undoubtedly one of the best 2014 dramas I have had the privilege of viewing. Containing a series of powerful messages, with a plot that continuously keeps you guessing, this feature is one of those rare gems that people simply have to watch, for it not only entertains the audience, it critiques our society as a whole.
When cosmetic company employee Risako Kano contacts friend and TV news cameraman/reporter Yuji Akahoshi about the murder of her attractive co-worker Miki Noriko, he begins to investigate the case himself, documenting his progress both on camera and via his Twitter account. His investigation soon points towards another co-worker - the timid Miki Shirono, who has been missing since the night of the murder. As the story explodes via mass media and online, a trial-by-media ensues and those close to both Noriko and Shirono begin painting their own perspectives on who these women were/are - but is anybody telling the complete truth?

'The Snow White Murder Case' is an interesting mish-mash of murder-mystery and commentary on the obsession with social and mass media. It takes enough from each side of the fence to tell an intriguing and entertaining story, and leave you thinking about the implications of speculation and rumour in a media-obsessed world. Strangely, the film also tails off into a story about the meaning of friendship - which I guess does tie in with the idea of not being swayed by rumour and innuendo.

With numerous characters providing their perspective on the victim/suspect, a bunch of flashbacks (including repeating flashbacks) and a slew of Twitter comments invading the screen, 'The Snow White Murder Case' could have become a bit off a mess both technically and narratively. I admit on my initial screening to having stopped watching after 30 minutes as I was losing interest but I gave it another go and I am glad I did. As the story begins heading along different strands, director Yoshihiro Nakamura does an excellent job of progressing the story without confusing the audience. Several scenes are repeated with subtle (and sometimes not-so-subtle) changes depending on the character recalling the situation, keeping the audience in-step with the story whilst also providing small hints on where it may be going to keep you hooked. These scenes (and the entire film really) are backed up by solid performances by the cast - a couple of characters do complete 180 degree turns by film's end but it remains believable throughout. I also enjoyed the jazzy, anime-esque soundtrack - off-beat but appropriate.

I was initially a bit underwhelmed with the conclusion of the film (it is kind of just handed to you) but I admit to having an ironic smile at Akahoshi's final scene. On second viewing, I think I appreciated it more: the murder-mystery has enough of a payoff (albeit slightly far-fetched) to be worth the wait and there is a small bite (perhaps a nip?) at the perils of the must-know-everything-now nature of our modern online society. Whilst the feel-good, "everything will be OK" ending is slightly odd, it is not a complete deal-breaker.

In sum, an entertaining film for the most part which strikes a happy balance between murder-mystery and comment on our obsession with mass and social media. I am fast becoming a fan of director Nakamura's work and his ability to jump genres and still tell an entertaining story. If you enjoyed 'The Snow White Murder Case' I highly recommend Nakamura's comedy/drama/action/apocalyptic sci-fi mish-mash 'Fish Story' for a similarly twisty story told from several perspectives.
Viewed at CineMatsuri 2015. Director Yoshihiro Nakamura utilizes a murder mystery plot device as a vehicle to explore troubling facets of modern Japanese society. This is a clever , original, but also somewhat derivative photo play. The Director simultaneously exploits an on-screen mash up of multiple contemporary communication media to tell his tale. Pictorial presentation of the flow of instant messaging is especially well done. Nakamura also shows a subculture seldom (if ever) seen by those living on the outside. It is the working environment of female office clerks and low-level salary women. And the explosive impact that seemingly trivial matters can have by engendering mental illness and murder. The shallow nature and undue influence of 7/24 social media on those who follow and engage in these communication channels is repeatedly underlined. There is an abundance of red herring and misinformation as well as subtitle cues as to the identity of the murder. Nakamura uses the common murder mystery mechanism (especially on TV) of repeating the same scene over and over again, each time from a different character's point of view to slowly remove question marks on viewers' collective foreheads and unmask the culprit. The film is much too long and padded with mostly irrelevant childhood experiences apparently to add depth to character development (and to further engage the viewer using cute child actors?). The closing scenes are clearly contrived (one gets the feeling that multiple endings may have been shot and someone other than the Director picked this one). Cinematography (1.78 aspect ratio, color) and lighting are excellent. Set decoration seems a bit inconsistent. Music fits in well with other film components. Subtitles are fine. However, only above-the-line names are translated in the credits. Highly recommended. WILLIAM FLANIGAN, PhD.