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I Just Didn't Do It (Soredemo Boku Wa Yattenai) (2007) (Japan)

PostPosted: Mon Apr 14, 2008 2:11 am
by hengcs

Director: Masayuki Suo
Cast: Ryo Kase, Koji Yakusho, Asaka Seto, Masako Motai, Koji Yamamoto, Miyu Yagyu, Ranran Suzuki, Ken Mitsuishi

The film was submitted by Japan to Oscar 2008.

Re: I Just Didn't Do It (Soredemo Boku Wa Yattenai) (2007) (Japan)

PostPosted: Mon Apr 14, 2008 2:14 am
by hengcs

originally posted by justindeimen ( 3-Apr-08 08:09 AM)

I Just Didn't Do It

Japan's foreign-film entry to the 2008 Academy Awards is a doozy and arrives from one of the country's preeminent filmmakers, Masayuki Suo. In his first film since 1996's "Shall We Dansu?", he brings the same discriminating eye back to Japan's cultural and social norms and in "I Just Didn't Do It", zeros in on its oppressively rigid judicial system. Observed on a level that can only be described as stark realism, a true departure from Suo's august social comedies and a distinct legal procedural going by its narrative trajectory of showing the inciting incident, investigation and to the courtroom in its various stages of due process - Teppei Kaneko (Ryo Kase) is accused of molesting a schoolgirl on his way to a job interview, subsequently coerced by weary detectives to accept the charge and pay the fine instead of pursuing vindication - a system that Suo notes as the reason for Japan's almost perfect conviction rate and institutionalised prejudice against the accused.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Re: I Just Didn't Do It (Soredemo Boku Wa Yattenai) (2007) (Japan)

PostPosted: Mon Apr 14, 2008 2:47 am
by hengcs

My Thoughts

(i) The main protagonist is really great. He is convincing and compelling.

(ii) The script is good, challenging us to think about our judicial system and legal issues. It questions whether we should be on the cautious side (by being safe rather than sorry) or whether we should be more forgiving (by awarding the benefit of doubt whenever warranted). At the end, there is a relevation by the protagonist, that the court is not about proving innocent and guilt, but rather a battle to find corroborating evidence. Although vastly different from this other film, Reversal of Fortune (1990) has also made a similar observation -- in Reversal of Fortune, the line went something like "the law has not proven he is innocent, but the evidence against him is insufficient."

(iii) There is some contention about the length of the film. Some people think it is necessary so that one can feel the tedious, tiring, and trying process of court cases. However, I am not in support of that argument. Let me explain, a good director does not need to make one feel bored about the film in order to depict a boring life of its protagonist. Likewise, I thought the film is great, but it could be edited slightly so as to better move the film along. Also, I humbly thought it could have been an even more focused, serious and dramatic piece by removing some unnecessary comical/humorous moments that kind of break the mood.

(iv) Most controversial has to be the ending. I believe a lot of people will leave the cinema discussing about the ending. Not revealing it here, I would say some prefer a sad ending while some prefer a happy ending. All that I want to say is ... I would have preferred the director to play around with the title and the ending ... In other words, even AFTER the film ends, it is NEVER made known to the audience whether he did it or he didnt do it. ... yup, it is for the protagonist to know and for the audience to guess ... ha ha ... I would prefer the ending voice to say something like ... In life, only you yourself know whether you did it or not ...

4 stars out of 5