THE LAST MESSAGE

RINJO: GEKIJYOBAN

By Hajime HASHIMOTO

TOEI COMPANY, LTD. - as SALES All rights, World

Crime - Completed 2012

Kuraishi, a police coroner, finds himself more in sympathy with a murderer than he would like to be.

    • Year of production
    • 2012
    • Genres
    • Crime
    • Countries
    • JAPAN
    • Languages
    • JAPANESE
    • Budget
    • 3 - 5 M$
    • Duration
    • 130 mn
    • Director(s)
    • Hajime HASHIMOTO
    • Synopsis
    • Winter, 2010. A young man goes berserk wit a knife in the suburban Tokyo area of Kichijoji in a bloody rampage that leaves four dead and 15 injured. Arrested at the scene, however, Hatano undergoes psychiatric testing and is pronounced innocent by reason of insanity under Article 39 of Japan’s Criminal Code. The bereaved families of the victims are left at a dead end.
      Two years later, lawyer Norio Takamura is found stabbed to death in his downtown law office. Kuraishi, a coroner with the Metropolitan Tokyo Police Department of Detectives, goes to the crime scene with his colleagues Rumi and Nagashima to conduct a forensic investigation. Two days later, in neighboring Kanagawa Prefecture, psychiatrist Yuzo Kakogawa is murdered at his clinic. This second murder is not in his jurisdiction, but Kuraishi sees similarities in both cases and begins to think they are the work of one killer.
      Tachihara, Director of the 1st Investigative Unit of the Metropolitan Tokyo Police, also thinks the two cases are the work of one person. They are both connected to the random stabbings of two years before. Kakogawa is the psychiatrist who provided expert testimony for Takamura’s argument that Hatano was innocent. Could the murderer be one of the bereaved family members? The Tokyo Metropolitan and Kanagawa Prefectural Police establish a joint investigation. Nakane, Director of the Kanagawa Prefectural Police 1st Investigative Unit, is in charge of the investigation. He jumps to this conclusion, and orders his men to confirm the alibis of all of the bereaved. But Kuraishi doesn’t think so. He believes something was done to Takamura’s body to throw off the estimated time of death. None of the bereaved would have the knowledge to do that, he says, and if the murderer were the same person, something similar would have been done to the body of Kakogawa. But Kakogawa’s body was autopsied by the well-known Professor Yasunaga, who says he found nothing amiss. Since Yasunaga was Kuraishi’s mentor, to cast doubt on his judgment is to criticize that mentor, Nakane reprimands Kuraishi, and investigation of the bereaved family members continues.
      Shortly after this the mother of one of the random stabbing victims, Naoko, sneaks into the grounds of the hospital where Hatano is being kept, and is discovered with a concealed knife. As one of the bereaved, she must have killed Takamura and Kakogawa, thinks Nakane, and ruthlessly interrogates her.
      Meanwhile, Tachihara has uncovered another case involving Takamura and Kakogawa in the Kanagawa jurisdiction. Eight years before, a young man accused of murder was portrayed as mentally unsound in an effort to get him off, but committed suicide in custody. Subsequently another man confessed to the crime, and the young man’s innocence became clear. The man’s father and only living relative, Kensaku Urabe, is even now a police officer on the Kanagawa force.
      Kuraishi continues to investigate independently. As a forensics expert, he has no right to give his opinion on the investigation, he is told, but he is more interested in the truth than in the police organization or its channels of command.
      Moved by Kuraishi’s unflinching determination to get to the bottom of these incidents, Rumi also sets diligently to work on her own. To heed the last message of the dead, as Kuraishi has taught, is now her life’s mission.
      What is the message the bodies of Takamura and Kakogawa have to tell?
      The truth Kuraishi reveals is a heartfelt cry from the grief-stricken.
      What lies ahead for them, hope or despair?
    • Beginning of shooting
    • Feb 01, 2012
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