The Man Behind the Scissors (Hasami otoko) [2005] • Japan

Random acts of weirdness turn out to be clues to an unsurprising, yet reasonable reveal. I had a lot of fun watching this. The Japanese are my favorite at plowing through absurdity with a straight face. The director employs a few visual flourishes to remind that this isn't a real crime thriller. The cops provide comic relief while the bad guys are almost frozen in their steadfast psychological drama. Asô Kumiko and Abe Hiroshi are present for credibility. I love Asô Kumiko and the film is mostly hers. She's pretty low key, doesn't swing her arms much when she walks, but she's still engaging, becoming more so as the film progresses and you get onboard with her and her hilarious attempts at suicide. The moral of the story needs a bucketload of salt but who cares? It's not laugh out loud funny but it's a good dark comedy of inner-child pain and murder. Not a lot, but a little, blood. The goriest thing has to be the nicotine stew Asô cooks up for herself.

Director: Toshiharu Ikeda
Starring: Kumiko Asô, Hiroshi Abe, Etsushi Toyokawa

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