a page of madness

film writing by nicholas vroman

Devil’s Path / 凶悪

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250px-The_Devils_Path-p2Director Kazuya Shiraishi’s second feature film outing is a far cry from his debut film, Lost Paradise in Tokyo, a realist whore-with-a-heart-of-gold fantasy. In Devil’s Path, he plumbs the depths of human depravity in dark noir that falls into the territory of James Ellroy. In this story, Fujii (Takayuki Yamada), a young reporter gets a tip from a death row inmate, Sudo (Pierre Taki) of series of grisly crimes committed by him and a his boss, a fellow known as the Teacher (Lily Franky), sometime in their dark past. Fujii, not unlike Jake Gyllenhaal in Zodiac, gets drawn into an ever-deepening mystery. Shiraishi keeps the tension taught through flashbacks of a sickening world of nihilistic criminality and a bland and forgetful present. Lily Franky, as the Teacher, is on a level with any of the most famous psychopaths in cinema history. Takayuki Yamada downplays his character with a haunting depth. Devil’s Path resolves on a particularly sour note as the mystery is sewn up. An empty and dreadful feeling remains as the credit roll.

Originally published in EL Magazine, September, 2013.


Written by Nicholas Vroman

September 3, 2013 at 9:41 am

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