a page of madness

film writing by nicholas vroman

Byakuyakou / 白夜行 / Into the White Night

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Yoshihiro Fukugawa’s take on Keigo Higashino’s crime story, Byakuyakou is a textbook example of ill-conceived adaptation and hackneyed filmmaking applied to interesting source material. Fukagawa’s unsure hand tries to milk as much sentimentality as possible out of a hard-boiled affair to laughable effect.  He takes on the tale of an obsessive policeman trying to get to the truth of a murder long after the fact. At the heart of the story is the mystery of an Osaka pawnbroker found dead in a warehouse. Years later the dogged detective, Sasagaki (Eiichiro Funakoshi) revisits the case, tightening around the pawnbroker’s son, Ryouji (Kengo Kora) and the daughter of his mistress, Yuhiko (Maki Horikita). Through maddening and excessive flashbacks to Ryouji and Yuhiko’s youth Fukagawa manages to cheapen the psychological rifts and thoroughly muddy the events that led to the murder. By the time of big revelations and wrapping up of the whole affair, the viewer is left with uncaring amazement at the string of filmic clichés that are at the heart of Into the White Night.

Originally published in EL Magazine, February 2011

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Written by Nicholas Vroman

January 13, 2011 at 1:48 am

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