a page of madness

film writing by nicholas vroman

Yoake no Machi de / 夜明けの街で / In the City of Dawn

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Setsuro Wakematsu’s adaptation of In the City of Dawn, the popular novel by Keigo Higashino, sidelines the mystery of the book and concentrates on the banal infidelity of handsome Kazuya Watanabe (Goro Kishitani) with Akiha Nakanishi (J-popster Kyoko Fukada). He’s her boss and about 20 years older, yet that issue never seems to work itself into the trajectory of the story. Instead, we see a rather foolish fellow, seemingly tossed by the winds of fate and his own weak will while another dark mystery seems to unfold in the background. She has been implicated in the murder of her father’s lover. Ultimately nobody gets off easy, not even Watanabe’s faithful wife. Set in the tacky houses, apartments and restaurants of the rich, one gets the impression that Wakematsu may be making a statement about the lifestyles of such moneyed folk. But it’s an opportunity that he misses. Perhaps the art director was being a bit subversive. All one is ultimately left with is a dull by-the-numbers story without much emotional involvement or social commentary.

Originally published in EL Magazine, October 2011

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