Standing at the Crossroads


The Third Murder as the first legal thriller film that Hirokazu Koreeda direct is in the list of the main competitive sector in 74th Venice International Film Festival. Hirokazu Koreeda is Japanese director, screenwriter and producer. Early life experience of Hirokazu Koreeda as a television documentary director establishes a firm foundation for his future film creation. After he meeting with his favorite Taiwanese filmmaker Xiaoxian Hou through a television documentary, Hirokazu Koreeda accepted his first film Maboroshi no Hikari. Moreover, Maboroshi no Hikari was successfully selected into the main competitive section of Venice International Film Festival. It is no doubt that the success of Maboroshi no Hikari pave the way for Hirokazu Koreeda. However, for Hirokazu Koreeda, Maboroshi no Hikari is like a dissertation of a student who deeply loves film so he does not satisfy the success of Maboroshi no Hikari and start to explore his own style. In 2004, Hirokazu Koreeda began to be famous with his film Nobody Knows and this film is also the sign of his creation becoming mature. From 2009 to 2016, Hirokazu Koreeda maintain high production and quality of films, which accelerates the process of he exceeding the filmmakers of the same generation and generally becoming symbol filmmaker of Japanese film.


Hirokazu Koreeda mentioned in an interview that The Third Murder is inspired from a real case. In the film, at the beginning, the murder has been told to audiences, therefore, the main purpose of the film is not suspense rather than discussion of humanity. The narrative angle of The Third Murder is a lawyer Tomoaki Shigemori. Tomoaki Shigemori is authorized to help Misumi, a murderer who already has had homicide record, reduce a penalty or avoid death penalty. However, Misumi changes his testimony several times making the truth of murder sink into deeper mystery. On the contrary, with the truth becoming mistier, humanity conflicts are more obvious. Every character in the film is interpreted contradiction of humanity. The purpose of lawyer Tomoaki Shigemori is not for the justice to pursue the truth instead of the success of career. The murder motivation of the murderer Misumi might be for protection of Sakie Yamanaka. However, Sakie Yamanaka, the daughter of the victim, is possible innocent while she could be true murderer. That no one cares the truth or the true truth is never entirely restored might be the real thing that Hirokazu Koreeda want to tell audiences. No matter how the truth is, as I mentioned previously, the core of The Third Murder does not focus on pursuing the truth rather than humanity conflicts.


The Third Murder as the first legal thriller film of Hirokazu Koreeda inherits his documentary style. The main two characteristics of documentary are unapparent dramatic conflict and abundant lifestyle details. Abundant lifestyle details are also reflected in The Third Murder and make characters more stereoscopic. However, the lack of apparent dramatic conflicts makes the film boring for the audiences who are accustomed to watch genre film. However, if the film is considered as a court psychological film instead of a suspense film, audiences can have more sentiment of The Third Murder.

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