Villain (2010) a.k.a. Akunin
Positives:A very solid cast.
Negatives:A bit too long for my taste.
Murder, love, revenge, loneliness and salvation make up the core themes of “Villain”.
A MAN WHO COULDN’T TELL IF HE WAS DEAD OR ALIVE
Okay. So the first fifteen minutes of the movie “Villain” are nothing to gawk at. Frankly, not much is happening at this point. It starts off with a trio of young women having a bite to eat. One of them, Yoshino, seems more overt than the other two and isn’t shy to tell her friends about the prospect of meeting her dream hunk, Keigo, later on that very night.
They finish their meal, split up, and Yoshino ( Hikari Mitsushima ) appears to make her way to the rendez-vous point. Along the way, she stumbles upon another potential suitor, Yuichi ( Satoshi Tsumabuki ), whom she found on an online dating site. He’s waiting in his parked white GT-R when she crosses path with hunk #1.
Yoshino decides to shun mad motorist Yuichi in favour of her beau Keigo and leaves the scene with the latter. The next day, Yoshino is found dead in a ditch near a road. This is the story of the man who put her there.
Yuichi is a distraught, unassuming young man with an unclear agenda. What seems clear enough though is the fact that he could blow-up at any moment. I like to think of him as Mr. Ticking Time Bomb. He lives in a rundown coastal village with his grandma and grandpa. He demolishes houses for a living and always takes care of his ailing grand-father when he’s at home. Yuichi‘s modus operandi when it comes to women is using online dating sites.
It comes as a shock and a big surprise to Yuichi to find out in the days following the death of Yoshino that the police claim to have captured their man. Even more surprising: he receives an e-mail from a girl, Mistuko ( Eri Fukatsu ), previously met on one of his dating sites, saying she’d like to resume their online relationship. Things are on the up and up and starting to look pretty good for the blonde-haired kid.
At its core, “Akunin” is about the effects of solitude. It’s about how ordinary lonely people who have lived with it for too long will sometimes go to great lengths to get rid of it, often becoming an entirely new person in the process. Tack on a layer of guilt then add a dash of romance and you’ll get a faint idea of what “Villain” is all about.
Intrigue and character development aside, the rest of the movie is still enjoyable to watch. The cinematography is solid enough, though not ground-breaking. The acting however feels a lot stronger. The dynamic between actors Satoshi Tsumabuki and Eri Fukatsu, Yuichi and Mitsuko respectively, are sometimes mesmerizing. And sometimes…well, they’re not. Also worthy of note are some great supporting characters like Yuichi‘s grand-ma ( Kirin Kiki ), the father of the victim ( Akira Emoto ) and Keigo hunk no.1 ( Masaki Okada ).
Sang-Il Lee dishes out a slow-paced-character-exploration-type thing in “Villain”. Audiences are sure to be turned off with the length of the film ( 139 mins ) in large part due to its less-than-likable stoic protagonist and his somewhat sexaholic approach to women and the speed at which the movie operates. Sadly, those people who left their seats early will have missed the best part of this flick: the second half. But whatever your views are concerning this film there’s one thing you can’t argue about: Yuichi is one hell of a puzzling character. And I mean that in a good way.
TRAILER [WARNING CONTAINS SPOILERS]: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yGUeUi3_rc4Villain (2010) a.k.a. Akunin,