The Murders of Oiso
Takuya Misawa, 2019 (79m)
Oiso is a town on Japan’s Pacific coast, located between Yokohama and Mount Fuji. Four friends - Kazuya, Shun, Tomoki and Eita - work in a local construction company, although it’s clear the firm is also involved in some very shady business. Kazuya - whose uncle owns the company - seems to be the group’s de facto leader, although he is also cruel and arrogant. He’s particularly jealous of Eita’s loving relationship with his girlfriend. When Kazuya’s uncle dies in a gardening accident, the friends get drawn into an increasingly messy situation - and old secrets and grudges start spilling out into the open. A deliberately cryptic and slippery drama, The Murders of Oiso is an ambitious and experimental film designed to keep the audience on their toes. Many of the key details are disguised or hidden, meaning viewers are encouraged to put the pieces together themselves. And there’s no shortage of atmosphere here, with an ominous mood, crisp cinematography and evocative score making this a remarkably well-crafted and distinctive tale of small-town angst. Just don’t expect any easy answers.