Twisted Justice (Nihon de ichiban warui yatsura)
Release Date: June 22nd 2016 (World Premiere, NYAFF 2016)
2 hour 15 minutes
Japanese language film subtitled in English
Director: Kazuya Shiraishi
Writer: Yoshiaki Inaba (nonfiction book), Jun'ya Ikegami (screenplay)
Gô Ayano as Yoichi Moroboshi
Shidô Nakamura as Kuriowa
Haruna Yabuki as Yuki
Pierre Taki as Murai
Young Dais as Taro Yamabe
Yukio Ueno as Rasheed
Review by Dante Hicks
Taking his inspiration from the biggest scandal in Japan’s police history, Kazuya Shiraishi has created a massive and sinister crime epic about the grand forces of corruption that brings to mind the best of Kinji Fukasaku’s yakuza movies (Cops vs. Thugs among others). Starting in 1970s Hokkaido like a nervous Japanese Starsky & Hutch, the film charts the moral descent of Detective Moroboshi (Go Ayano) over three decades. Green in years but already hard-grained and ready to play rough, the young cop quickly gets a bit too cozy with the other side of the law when his senior colleague Murai (Pierre Taki) teaches him the ropes and ruts of the police business. Soon, he swaggers and rants through the streets of Sapporo a lean, mean, sex-crazy bully, indistinguishable from a yakuza. Burning with the same blaze as the hard-boiled classics of yore, Twisted Justice scorches away the sleekness and macho self-congratulation of the genre.
If you are a fan of biopics with a crime bent, this is the film for you. The movie is based on the life story of Yoichi Moroboshi (played by Gô Ayano). The 1975 Japan National Judo Champion, detective, and man that has a bent way on fighting justice. This movie in my opinion is akin to "Goodfellas" like it's a Japanese version of a very similar story. To not say it's a great film is an understatement to the craft of cinema. The film depicts Moroboshi's life from the days of him training at the judo dojo up to the his fall. If you know anything about Moroboshi this paints the picture of his story amazingly well. And if you don't, buckle up for a gritty portrayal of a man's rise to fame and eventual downfall. Without giving too much away a young man gets recruited by the Hokkaido police because they want to win the National Judo Championship. The film never shows the actual Championship itself but flashes to his early days on the police force. Where we see Mr. Murai, the hardened detective that is a role model for Moroboshi. From there all hell breaks loose. You're then taken on an adventure of a man's life story through the years.
The film was shot amazingly acurate to events depicted in real life. The sets looked very close as to what would be there in those eras. The performances were amazing, Gô Ayano should get nominated for his performance of a man from his early years (1979) up to 2000's. The cast were amazing, at no time did I feel that there was overacting or scenery chewing. This is what a great bio pic should be like. If you appreciated films like "Goodfellas" where you see Henry Hill's rise and fall in the criminal world? This is a no brainer.
Run to "Twisted Justice" as quick as you possibly can. This was by far my second favorite film I've ever seen from the New York Asian Film Festival. My favorite one is "It's Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong". Do yourself a favor and enjoy this film in it's entirety. This is hands down the "Best in Show" film in my opinion of 2016's Asian Film Festival. It runs again at the festival June 28th 2016.
Stars: 5 stars out of 5 stars