4.0 out of 5 stars The Woman in Red
“Retribution” (Japanese title “Sakebi” meaning “Scream”) is a classic yurei tale. Director Kurosawa Kiyoshi has decided to draw within the lines, keeping all the elements of this traditional Japanese monster, while giving the film some of his personal touches.
Kurosawa (Cure, Pulse) has proved time and time again that he is a force to be reckoned with. Many of his films fall within the horror genre, and they all carry Kurosawa’s heavy tone. “Retribution” is no different. Even while playing within the confines of tradition, the world-weary nature of his characters, the idea that even the best of us somehow deserves what is inevitably coming, all comes through strongly. Kurosawa has a vision with his films, and one that I enjoy very much.
The story of “Retribution” is a horror/detective pairing. A police officer Yoshioka (Played by Kurosawa Kiyoshi regular Yakusho Koji), is called to the scene of a grisly murder. A body has been found, lungs full of seawater, and all signs point to Yoshioka being the murderer. At first he is tempted to hide clues, but since he knows he did not commit the crime he keeps investigating. More murders follow, all involving the same MO, all committed by people who should not be committing murders. Into this strange mix are two women, a haunting Woman in Red (Hazuki Riona) who seems to appear and disappear, and Yoshioka’s girlfriend Harue (Konishi Manami) who tries to help Yoshioka but finds herself constantly being pushed away and pulled closer.
“Retribution” is a very good movie, although not a particularly scary one. The film concentrates on mood and story more than chills, and although there are a few shocking moments for the most part the pace is quiet. With every Kurosawa Kiyoshi film I see, I love his style of horror more and more. It is psychological and supernatural horror all at the same time, with recriminations for society’s growing coldness and isolated nature.
The DVD for “Retribution” has a few good extras, including a “Making of.”, an interview with Kurosawa Kiyoshi, and an Alternate Ending and a special “Making of the Alternate Ending.”