6.2/10
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14 user 68 critic

Shield of Straw (2013)

Wara no tate (original title)
A team of cops must protect an accused killer with a billion-yen bounty on his head.

Director:

Takashi Miike

Writers:

Kazuhiro Kiuchi (based on the novel by), Tamio Hayashi (screenplay)
5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Takao Ohsawa ... Kazuki Mekari
Nanako Matsushima ... Atsuko Shiraiwa
Gorô Kishitani ... Takeshi Okumura
Masatô Ibu Masatô Ibu ... Kenji Sekiya
Kento Nagayama ... Masaki Kamihashi
Hirotarô Honda Hirotarô Honda ... Ohki
Kazuya Takahashi Kazuya Takahashi
Gô Ibuki Gô Ibuki
Takuma Otoo Takuma Otoo
Kenji Nagae Kenji Nagae
Wataru Shihôdô Wataru Shihôdô
Kazuyoshi Ozawa Kazuyoshi Ozawa
Yoshiyuki Yamaguchi Yoshiyuki Yamaguchi
Yasukaze Motomiya Yasukaze Motomiya
Miho Ninagawa Miho Ninagawa
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Storyline

After killing a 7-year-old girl, psychopath Kunihide Kyomaru turns himself in to the police. Since his victim was the daughter of one of the country's richest men, terminally ill billionaire Ninagawa, who buys ads in all the major papers offering a hefty reward for anyone who kills Kunihide. There are a few caveats, including a clause that the execution must be authorized by the government, but the consequences are clear: It's open season on Kunihide, who has nothing but five dedicated cops to protect him, led by security police lieutenant Kazuki Mekari. Written by anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

1 serial killer. ¥1 billion reward. 48 hours. Trust no one.

Genres:

Thriller

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Japan

Language:

Japanese

Release Date:

26 April 2013 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Shield of Straw See more »

Filming Locations:

Tokyo, Japan See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Connections

Remade as Manhunt See more »

Soundtracks

North of Eden
performed by Kyosuke Himuro
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Saw it on opening night!
30 April 2013 | by ebossertSee all my reviews

Shield of Straw (2013) (Japanese Thriller)

Viewed on April 26th, 2013 at Shinuku Piccadilly Cinema in Tokyo, Japan. No subtitles.

After a young girl is murdered, the grandfather publicly issues a $10 million bounty on the head of the prime suspect (an already convicted rapist/murderer played by Tatsuya Fujiwara). An idealistic cop (Takao Osawa) is assigned the protect and transport the suspect despite the repeated assassination attempts. This film by Takashi Miike is absorbing and pushes the protagonist's ideals to the limit, especially considering how the suspect is obviously a homicidal maniac whose protection endangers the lives of both police officers and citizens. As the bodycount of innocent deaths rise, it becomes more and more difficult to justify the suspects' protection. There are a few good action moments to enjoy, but the tension is expressed more so in the threat than the actual violence itself.

One thing I would like to point out is with regard to the performances by both lead actors, which are very strong. This is a bit surprising given their histories. I would not personally classify Tatsuya Fujiwara as a "great" actor, and he does not belong in the same ranks as other Japanese stars like Hiroshi Abe and Koji Yakusho. That said, he has definitely grown on me over the past few years with his performances in "Parade" (2009) and now this film. I see him building a respectable career into the future. Then there's Takao Osawa, a man who has had his fair share of cartoonish and/or stiff performances. But here he turns in the best performance of his career, and actually carries the film on his shoulders from start to finish. Ironically, I also recently saw him give a good performance in "Strawberry Night" (2012), so he is also growing on me.

Miike's direction is impressive as always. He represents a great example of a once cult director who has retained his filmmaking qualities despite turning to mainstream projects. In fact, I'd say that his "hit or miss" career has actually grown more consistent in recent years. Fans should see "Shield of Straw" as soon as possible.

P.S. - This film was apparently panned at the Cannes Film Festival, which is not much of a surprise since it's probably the most "commercial" film in competition.


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