Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

After a slow start, during which a medium is introduced, the police ask for help concerning a kidnapped girl and in a stroke she changes from being shy and self-effacing into a woman of ambition, desperate for public recognition, bored of her quiet life and quieter husband, fed up with "growing old and doing nothing until it's too late."

The film suffers from lack of consistency. On the one hand, Kiyoshi Kurosawa directs with admirable restraint, creating mood by suggestion, rather than threat, and on the other violates credibility with a plot that is predictable and absurd.

At times, the spectre of Macbeth hangs in the air as guilt eats into the minds of this apparently sane couple, driving them mad. What happens in their garage and how they become involved with the missing child, not to mention their reaction to it, makes no logical sense.

Kurosawa's use of music is overdone, as if without it the audience might forget to be afraid. Apparitions are in the habit of turning up whenever there's a gap in the storyline and, in a moment of panic, the husband kills himself, which does not mean he dies. He finds a person who looks like him, his doppelganger, sitting in an armchair in the back yard. Rather than engage in conversation, he douses him with gasoline and lights the touch paper.

Bye bye.

Reviewed on: 07 Aug 2001
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The fate of missing schoolgirl haunts the lives of a medium and her husband in Japan.
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Director: Kiyoshi Kurosawa

Writer: Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Tetsuya Onishi, based on the novel by Mark McShane

Starring: Koji Yakusho, Jun Fubuki, Teutoshi Kusanagi, Ittoku Kishibe

Year: 2000

Runtime: 95 minutes

Country: Japan


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