Synopsis – A young woman who work at cosmetic company become a prime suspect,after her beautiful co-worker was murderer.
My Take – Its been a while I have check out a Japanese language film, but something about the film title & the elements of mystery in the plot compelled me to check this film out. And trust me its impressive!! 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. Adapted from a best-selling Japanese novel by Kanae Minato, the film 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 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.
The story follows Noriko (Nanao), a tall, young and attractive office lady of a cosmetics company that specialize in the company’s Snow White soap department who has been brutally stabbed several times and then burned in a national park. When a temporary news director, Akahoshi (Gô Ayano), who works at a news company hears some insider information from his friend Risako Karino (Misako Renbutsu), who also works at the same company, 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. With all fingers pointing at only person – the socially awkward Miki Shirono (Mao Inoue). Why did Shirono kill the saint like Noriko? Where has she disappeared? Among the witnesses who is lying & who is telling the truth? 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. 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. 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.
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. 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. Among the cast, Mao Inoue and Nanao both provide convincing performances in their respective roles, successfully display the multiple facets of their characters well. On the whole, ‘The Snow White Murder Case‘ is a superbly entertaining murder mystery depicting a dramatic influence of the media in our lives. This highly watchable and influential drama, which efficaciously combines a riveting, intelligent story-line 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 murder mystery. Give it a watch!!
Director – Yoshihiro Nakamura
Rated – N/A
Run Time – 126 minutes