Our writer Miguel reviewed this film over at his site but since Third Window Films was kind enough to send me a screener I decided to post my own opinion of this popular 2010 film. Villian follows Shimizu Ryuichi, who is a shy and lonely day labor worker looking for love. One day, Yuichi meets Yoshino through an online dating site. Their meeting ends in tragedy with Yuichi murdering Yoshino. Unexpectedly, a rich young university student from Fukuoka, ends up as the prime suspect to which the film starts to get really interesting. The question is begging to be asked…Who is the true “villain” here?
Oh…i’ll go ahead and ruin that aspect. The true “villain” of the film is not Ryuichi but rather other sub-plot characters whose are the stereotyped heartless scum we love to despise like a self-absorbed woman who has an extreme case of vanity. In addition, Tsutsumishita, a smooth-talking con-man and Yakuza affiliate who specializes in manipulating elderly woman out of their money, Shimizu Yoriko, Ryuichi’s negligent mother who leaves Ryuichi in the care of his kind but elderly grandmother and the Japanese Tabloid Media whose relentless coverage of the murder destroys the lives of three families. It’s overly familiar territory. The grandmother is harassed by the press outside her home for information about her wanted grandson, and it escalates to something pretty fierce.
Acting is fairly good. Maybe a little too much background to the main characters but then again they are the main characters. The real gold here is the sub-plot and sub characters. A social commentary on various things that is developed makes this case fatally realistic but at the same time, very sad. Lee’s film is a very conventional film and is not overly ambitious or original but it does what it set out to do and make audience think. I think Third Window Films acquires film that make you think, no matter what genre they cover. Mainly because the main characters’ relationship is initially of a sexual nature, but grows into something deeper and ultimately, very confusing.
The chemistry between his character and Fukamatsu Eri’s Mitsyo is very convincing and the two make a wonderful odd couple. Eimoto Akira is also another highlight of the film. His tearful portrayal of a grieving father is very effective and tugs at the heartstrings. Okada Masuo’s Keijo makes a great “villain” although he certainly is not one for subtle performances. One final word of warning to those who would like to see this film, because I am not sure about you but I saw earlier how the title of villain is indistinguishably played the various characters to the storyline. Howerver, that being said, it is a well executed movie. With a lengthy running time of 140 minutes, there is lots of story here for you to sink your teeth into.