Bad news for anybody who had fallen in love with the soul-stirring, intimate, existentially wise family dramas by Hirokazu Kore-eda, like Nobody Knows, Our Little Sister, or Still Walking. The great humanist has decided that he has spent too much time thinking about family relationships and wants to avoid the theme until he is sixty.
In The Third Murder, he is making his first foray into the courtroom drama. A murder trial appears to be an open-and-shut case because the accused has confessed to the robbery and murder, but his lawyer discovers that the case is much more complex.
His search for the best legal strategy gradually transforms into a search for the truth, which turns out to be almost impossible to find.
The viewer is stimulated intellectually with dozens of questions that do not only concern legal specialists. This film highlights the many problems with the Japanese legal system, which still endorses the death penalty.
It is a good film, but the excessive dialogue and characters that never really come to life did make us a little nostalgic for Kore-eda’s warmer work.