Directed By: Hiroshi Nishitani
Written By: Keigo Higashino; Yasushi Fukuda
Shinichi Tsutsumi – Tetsuya Ishigami
Masaharu Fukuyama – Manabu Yukawa
Kou Shibasaki – Kaoru Utsumi
Yasuko Matsuyuki – Yasuko Hanaoka
Miho Kanazawa – Misato Hanaoka
Kazuki Kitamura – Shunpei Kusanagi
Dankan – Kuniaki Kudo
Keishi Nagatsuka – Shinji Togashi
Language: Japanese Genre: Mystery-Thriller
After Drishyam released there were many reports of how the film was inspired by the Japanese film Suspect X. Naturally curious, I decided to watch it. There are conceptual similarities but while Drishyam is the story of a family, Suspect X is a love story.
Tetsuya Ishigami (Shinichi Tsutsumi) is a washed out, reclusive high school mathematics teacher who seems to be shuffling in and out of his house feeling like he has made no impression on the world. He seems to have a soft corner for his pretty next-door neighbour, the owner of a bento shop – Yasuko Hanaoka (Yasuko Matsuyuki), a single mother.
There seems to be limited interaction between them till he overhears a violent scuffle in her house after the arrival of her abusive ex-husband Shinji Togashi (Keishi Nagatsuka). He knocks to find a dead body and then starts the cover up.
The cops, Kusanagi (Kazuki Kitamura) and Utsumi (Kou Shibasaki) are stumped because they cannot break the alibis Hanaoka and Misato, her daughter (Miho Kanazawa) have created. So they turn to the genius physicist of Teito University, Yukawa sensei (Masaharu Fukuyama) for help. Yukawa sensei in the beginning of the film is shown solving a rather complex murder case which was masked as a high profile accident.
Yukawa and Ishigami, known as geniuses in their fields, are revealed to be friends from college. But now, they are on the opposite sides. What follows is a mind game between the two – almost eerily reminiscent of the mind games between Light and L in the manga/anime Death Note.
The whole story begins to take on the form of a power play. Suddenly, everything is suspicious. In every corner, something is lurking and the ever-present sense that something is not quite right – is cloying. Even the fact that Ishigami is helping Hanaoka and Misato – why?
The film throws light on the hidden lives that people live. How being non-expressive for cultural reasons does not imply that people do not feel. In the penultimate moment when Ishigami actually shows emotion, it is a gut-wrenching scene that leaves your senses shocked.
Even if you think, as you watch the film that you’ve solved it, the equation isn’t complete because the X factor is still an unknown quality.