Reviewed by: Symon Parsons

It's a bleak world that greets the audience of Koroshi. The narrator of the film, Hawazaki introduces himself as a newly-unemployed worker unable to admit to his wife that he's lost his job. Instead, he drives through the snow-covered landscape every day to a neighbouring town, but is all too aware his wife will discover the truth once his severance pay runs out.

Salvation unexpectedly arrives when he is asked to kill another unemployed man for 5 million yen. Despite his misgivings, Hawazaki performs the task and finds himself reinvigourated at again having a job and money. Soon he is requesting assignments at reduced rates, just to be working.

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Of course this situation can't last, especially when he is told his next target is his old boss...

Koroshi translated is film noir, and it's interesting to note in this film how writer/director Masahiro Kobayashi bends the rules of the genre in a Japanese style, yet continues to pay homage to them.

Death, sex, money and power are all inextricably connected in Koroshi, with the inevitable end of Hawazaki foreshadowed by the ominous wind rushing through the electricity windmills. Although the bright, snow-covered world is far removed from classic noir, it is the perfect setting to express the cold heart of Hawazaki's wife and the harshness of a society which measures a man only by how much he makes.

Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001
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After losing his job, Hawazaki becomes a paid assassin of other unemployed men.
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Director: Masahiro Kobayashi

Writer: Masahiro Kobayashi

Starring: Ryo Ishibashi, Nene Ootsuka, Ken Mitsuishi, Takashi Yamamoto

Year: 2000

Runtime: 86 minutes

Country: Japan


EIFF 2000

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