Wow. What a though-provoking movie. It’s not about romance, superpowers, or horror. It is a social commentary, addressing the power and manipulation of social media and internet bullying. The medium used in the film is the big blue bird most of us have – Twitter. Many use it to tweet about their daily life, others use it to say unpleasant things while hiding behind an online identity. Replace twitter with any other social media services, and you have yourself a new anonymous face. Suffice to say, at the end of the movie, it makes me aware of the things we ought to say and the things that should be left unsaid. It’s always nice to be kinder to one another.
Japanese Title: 白ゆき姫殺人事件
Cast: Mao Inoue, Ayano Go, Nanao, Misako Renbutsu
Date Released: March 29, 2014 (Jap)
Link To DL: 540p ZASK (Eng Sub & Chinese Sub are included – Pick your desired language) // Stream Online // Individual SRT
NOTE: The following comments do not contain spoilers about the murderer’s identity.
What’s the Story About?
All Alone in the World – Serizawa Brothers (Main instrumental used in film) // DL here
Once a beautiful face and body, now lies deep in the woods, charred, and with multiple stab wounds. The murdered is identified as Noriko Miki (Nanao), a new worker at a cosmetics company. Because her name is undisclosed to the general public, people on social media refer to her as Snow White.
But nothing is a secret when there are hungry people around – thirsty for news and tidbits of the latest crime. In comes temporary TV director, Yuji Akahoshi (Gou Ayano), who’s a frequent Twitter user, employing the service to post up food reviews. Fortunately, he’s contacted by a friend, Risako Kanob (Misako Renbutsu), and she readily shares Intel and secrets to him regarding Noriko’s murder mystery. She works at the same company and provides suspicions about the murderer being Miki Shirono (Mao Inoue), the new hire who is shunned by the staff because she’s socially awkward and keeps to herself. The motive? She’s as plain as a duck and everyone prefers the beautiful and kind Noriko.
Yuji begins interviewing colleagues and close friends of Miki. Each perspective tells a different version of the story but the fingers all point at Miki, whether good or bad. People remember things differently and will often say things that benefit themselves. Does Yuji care? No. Does the people care? No. They eat up news tidbits that he distributes and he thrives under the attention. Soon enough, the truth no longer matters and the mass persecution of the suspected individual strikes the said individual when her name and face is revealed to the public.
At the end of the day, is everyone telling the truth? Which truth is the truth?
Comments on Story, Characters, and Performances:
I really appreciate the social messages throughout the movie and how social media services have become a hand of weaving power in this day and age. Younger ones are using these platforms and some are slowly falling victims to what is considered the social norms – siding with alike minds, shaping their behavior and attitude to gang up against others with a differing standpoint. Opinions shift and alter within minutes of a new gossip. This is fueled by our curious nature too, we like to hunt and investigate, and are quick to judge. How accurate is that?
The execution of the story, however, does take a bit of adjustment in the first 15 minutes or so because the scrolling tweets and character dialogues are often overlapped. My brain did adapt and I was engrossed after 45 minutes. Like everyone else, trying to piece together the whole story is fun.
When I downloaded the movie, I did not know Mao Inoue is the lead. The moment her face showed up on screen, I was surprised at how plain they made her look. Understandably so because Miki is constantly pitched against the beautiful Noriko to offer a reason behind the murder. Mao is an enjoyment in here and I finally see her under a different light (Granted, this is the first time I see her acting in years!)
There’s a small character that serves almost as a mocking figure of the whole social network. He’s Yuji’s assistant and it cracks me up that he brings up relevant questions but shies away from making them heard. It’s like the Nevermind, it doesn’t matter anyway because the truth is not as fun as the hunt and the shaming.
My favorite scene is at the end. But I won’t talk about in details. For a movie which deals with the ripple effects of internet gossips and the resulting bashing and bullying, the shortest friendship moment really shines through. While it comes late but the message is delivered and received.
Though I enjoyed the movie, it lacks the emotional aspect because the main players do not interact with each other until the very end. Which I believe is intentionally filmed to emphasize the feeling of isolation and loneliness the victimizing party feels, so I can’t fault the script too harshly. It’s a compelling film that challenges our outlooks on social media and news outlets, and propels us to reflect on our roles in the online world.
Highly recommended. Give it a chance and let me know of your thoughts! Happy Weekend Drifters!