Pale Moon / Kami no Tsuki / 紙の月
Director Daihachi Yoshida’s workmanlike direction makes Pale Moon a serviceable, but somewhat dull and fairly predictable tale of crime and passion cook along without much sizzle. Even with the casting of Rie Miyazawa as Rika, the OL with an unhappy marriage who ends up swindling money from the bank she works at to shower the largess on her young hunk of a lover, the film never really sparks. Miyazawa, usually a more forthright and smoldering presence in most of her film roles, looks more caught in the headlights in the supposedly tension filled situations that make up the bulk of Pale Moon. There’s a smug morality that suffuses most of the film that ultimately damns Rika, even as Yoshida tries to make her a bit of a feminist heroine. Whether Yoshida is playing both sides of the story or just plain unsure about what he’s doing comes to a denouement that’s as dishonest and wimpy as the ending of his previous film, The Kirishima Thing. I guess maybe it’s just a Yoshida thing.
Originally published in EL Magazine, November 2014.