Rage

Sang-il LeeJapan142 minutes201618AColourJapanese

A grisly unsolved murder links three seemingly unrelated stories in three different Japanese cities, in this arresting ensemble thriller from director Sang-il Lee (Unforgiven).

Sang-il Lee's follow-up to his acclaimed Unforgiven is an arresting ensemble thriller about the perils of trust in a world where violence could come through the door at any moment.

The film opens on a grisly crime scene. A couple is found murdered in their Hachioji home, with a single word written in blood on the wall: "rage." A year passes, the perpetrator remains at large, and we are immersed in a trio of seemingly unrelated stories.

In Chiba, Yohei (Academy Award nominee Ken Watanabe) worries about his daughter Aiko (Aoi Miyazaki); she's started dating Tashiro (Kenichi Matsuyama), a dockworker who shares little about his past. In Tokyo, Yuma (Satoshi Tsumabuki) hooks up with Naoto (Go Ayano), a recent arrival to the city. Naoto possesses a quiet charisma and haunted eyes, but he doesn't like to talk about where he comes from or what he does while Yuma works. And in the Okinawa Islands, teenagers Izumi (Suzu Hirose) and Tatsuya (Takara Sakumoto) meet Tanaka (Mirai Moriyama), a likeable but mysterious drifter squatting in the ruins of a seaside bungalow.

Disturbing questions surround these three enigmatic characters in three different places: questions about their potential connection to the Hachioji murder, and about our own criteria for deciding who is suspicious and who isn't.

Based on the novel by Akutagawa Prize winner Shuichi Yoshida, who also authored the source novel for Lee's Villain, Rage is a character-driven exploration of what it means to bond with others — and of the potentially terrifying consequences of trusting too easily.

With textured performances, especially from Watanabe, and a gorgeous piano-driven score by the great Ryuichi Sakamoto, Rage peels back the façade of everyday encounters to discover what we risk and what we gain when we open our hearts and homes to a stranger.

GIOVANNA FULVI

Mystery + ThrillerDramaCrimeViolenceEast Asia