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I Just Didn't Do It

Soredemo Boku Wa Yattenai
2006 / 143m - Japan
I Just Didn't Do It poster

A pretty damning look at the Japanese judicial system (though other countries are no doubt dealing with similar problems). Prosecutors trying to save face, investigators and judges dealing with quotas, lawyers pushing plea bargains forward as the best way out of a precarious situation. A system where pleading innocent is almost equal to self-harm.

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The presumption of innocence ideal is probably more relevant than ever, especially in this era of media (and social network) trials. And to make things even juicier, this is a film about a falsely accused groper, a topic that is sure to rustle some feathers in our post-MeToo era. It makes for some very uncomfortable scenes.

The film has a stellar cast and and Suo's direction is effective, though a little dry. There is hardly any stylistic adornment, visuals are functional and the soundtrack is sparse. It definitely helps to get the message across, but for a film this long I would've preferred something more than that. The finale is very strong though, so overall there's quite a bit to like here.

Shall We Dance?

Shall We Dansu?
1996 / 136m - Japan
Music, Romance
Shall We Dance? poster

Well-made romantic comedy that has few weak points, but is just a little too long. The actors do a solid job, director Suo has everything under control and the film hits its emotional beats, it's just that the runtime is a little excessive. It's not the greatest film in the world, but it's a very fun and accessible film.