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The writer and college professor, Alexandre Fayard, researches and gives lectures about the gruesome literary work of the mysterious Japanese writer Shundei Oe, considered by him to be the master of manipulation. In his underground detective novels, evil always prevails and Shundei Oe has never allowed anyone to see his face. His only image available is a frightening picture on the back of his best-sellers. Alex travels to Kyoto to promote his successful detective story that follows the same style of the Shundei Oe but with a positive message instead. He meets with his publisher, Ken Honda, from the publishing house Hakubunkan. While in an interview in a TV show, Alex receives a phone call from Shundei Oe that advises him to return to Paris, and Alex believes it is a marketing strategy of Ken. Then Alex and Ken go to a tea house where he meets the Masochist geisha Tamao, and Alex has a crush on her. Tamao discloses to Alex that she knows Shundei Oe and his real name is Hichiro Irata; ...Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Inju - The Geisha Killer, alternatively known as Inju: The Beast in the Shadow, is based on a Japanese novel by Edogawa Rampo. It tells about a French crime author who admires and has based much of his work on the expertise and skill of a Japanese colleague, named Shundei Oe, a known recluse who has never been seen in public. But now our main character is about to travel to Japan and it just might be that he gets a chance to meet his idol.
What makes this film work is its cohesion. No single element in it stands out, nothing in it is all that extraordinary. But neither does it have any weak elements in it. It is a proficient mystery thriller done right. The two main actors, Benoît Magimel and Lika Minamoto, are both talented and likable in their roles. The Japanese setting is utilized well enough. The score is nice, the pacing is nice and the twists are genuinely thrilling, though I did see the final twists coming a bit early, but that simply gave me the joy of discovery.
Then again, I can sort of see why this film hasn't received all that much praise. It doesn't stand out. It is merely good in an average way, which makes it forgettable. I'm personally a big fan of Japanese culture, which certainly made me more favourable to this film, allowing me to accept it from the start. But, otherwise, I probably would have thought it to be a bit lazy and not that inspired.
It's still a good film. Definitely worth seeing if you're into thrillers and especially if you like Japan as a setting as well. Don't expect any miracles, just lay back and enjoy a decent mystery story with an erotic undertone.
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