A vicious attack has taken place in Tokyo. Husband and wife have been stabbed to death by a young man. The police show an old photograph of the suspect to the media and start an unsuccessful search for him in the whole country. That’s a conventional opening for a suspense movie; but in the case of 怒り (Ikari, Rage), the camera-narrator challenges us to discover who the assassin is, among three different and distant individuals. She peeks on the lives of the 3 runaways that may be the one. They all look like the picture. Indeed, through the information in the brochure about the production of the film, we find out that it was not one but three different photographs, each of them more similar to each actor, a good Photoshop job.
There is a story about a gay couple that just met in the dark room of a sauna downtown Tokyo. It gives a surprisingly realistic depiction of the hidden world –in Japan- of gay relationships and rooftop pool parties. Yuma (Tsumabuki Satoshi) is the successful, outgoing and good-looking guy who hosts and falls for a taciturn Naoto (Gô Ayano). I didn’t recognized the latter from 日本で一番悪い奴ら (Japan’s worst guys) well after the end of the film. He is a chameleonic actor, no doubt about it; and very productive: he appeared in 8 movies in 2016!
The second story has in the cast Watanabe Ken, Miyazaki Aoi and Death Note’s Matsuyama Kenichi. The location is a port in Northern Japan, and shows a problematic young woman just being rescued by her father from a prostitution network. Afterwards, she falls in love with an enigmatic young man with no past.
The third one takes us to a not-so-idyllic Okinawa, where American bases and their sexually-incontinent marines disrupt local harmony. It’s probably the toughest part to see, with images of a rape that will, for sure, disturb the audience.
If there is something in common about these 3 stories, is mistrust, mistrust of the unknown. People around the 3 men think they are the assassin, but for one reason or another, they don’t report them to the police: Yohei (Watanake Ken) wants him as a husband for her unstable daughter; Yuma is in love with Naoto; and in Okinawa, Shingo’s coworkers might be scared of his aggressive behavior.
Only at the end of the film we understand the motives of the initial killing and the identity of its perpetrator: rage against society, rage that is explained already in the title, 怒り, as a philological clue to find the assassin.
This is a well-adapted screenplay from a novel, with tension till the end, a great bunch of no overacting people from different generations, and good-quality and artistic filming that refers to present issues in Japanese society. What else can you ask from a movie?