Beautiful Noriko Miki works at a cosmetic company. One day, Noriko is murdered. People begin to suspect that her co-worker Miki Jono might have killed her. Television begins to cover this story. A TV reporter interviews Miki Shirono's colleagues, family, and people from her hometown. Rumors turn into fear. Is she really a wicked woman? ~~ Based on the novel "Shiro Yuki Hime Satsujin Jiken" by Kanae Minato
Cast & Credits
People have false memories. They only tell things that benefit them.
The internet exposes the truth. The internet accuses falsely.
Throughout the movie, we listen to people's point of view of the main suspect of the murder. At first I took what they said at face value, or at least as people enjoying gossip and making assumptions based on what they think. Part of it was true, while the other part was people just wanting to make someone look bad since it made them look better. The more people and the media demonize one person, the easier it becomes for others to make the worst assumptions.
Throughout most of the movie, we follow Ayano Go's character who works at a channel station to uncover the murder mystery. However he wasn't looking for the truth, he was looking for a story that'll make him successful. His interviews and editing of films he puts up are bias and just lead to pointing fingers at one suspect. His reason of doing this is simple. It's just juicier and he get the positive attention he wanted. As for the attention he got, people are just bored and that was adding excitement in their lives. I don't think his character was made to be worst than anyone else, he just is, and so are others. Basically many had their own complex they worry about, and expressed it differently. Sometimes it can lead to dire consequences.
The acting from the whole cast was great, but especially Inoue Mao. One thing I wonder though, how the hell is she considered "plain" lol. I guess she tried being as plain as possible. We also got a reunion with her co-star from her Hana Yori Dango Days. We don't even see the actrices in even one scene together, but I still felt chemistry there and felt for both their characters. Weird huh. Maybe just my bias :P
Finally I just want to say I loved that movie. It got me absorbed early on and the more I watch the more I want to find out more. I felt I was one of those netizens making assumptions of the findings until we get someone reveal more and I'd be like, no wait a minute, I got it all wrong!
My trail of thought was all over the place so I hope this review is helpful and not confusing :P
PS: I found the first 10 minutes is hard to follow because it's a time where 2 characters are having a conversation while one of them is writing tweets and getting reply. Trying to follow both at the same time is not easy so I was worried the whole movie would be like that but thankfully is wasn't.
Not giving too much story-telling here so I'll just say that I grew up with Hana Yori Dango (Inoue's hit-TV series that shot her to fame).
The plot of The Snow White Murder Case is pretty straightforward. There's a crime. Of course what's next is to find the suspect. But what SWMC does differently is instead of trying to pinpoint who the suspect is, we already have one. Miki Shirono played by Inoue. What's left is to identify whether Shirono is really guilty or not. By all means, it seems that all clues lead back to her.
The film features several other characters, Noriko Miki, the one who was murdered, Yuji Akahosi, a reporter trying to solve the case for his 'big break' and at the same time, tweeting updates (which is not allowed in his job), Satoshi Shinoyama and Eimi Mitsushima, both Miki and Shirono's co-workers.
I think that Shirono's character is the one most explored and that's effective given that she is the suspect, in a way, it made her character richer and someone the viewer can sympathize with rather than hate. But that's not to say that the accounts of the other characters are not in vain because they are the pieces of the puzzle that make the story more structured and strong. The flashbacks are great additions to make everything tighter.
There is great storytelling here. The testimonials of the different characters, from co-workers, to the head, to Shirono's neighbour and primary/secondary classmates makes it all the more compelling. Why? Because as a viewer, you need to follow these testimonials to build and finally see the bigger picture. Then you judge. Are all the testimonials true? How can you judge if one is lying or not? That itself is enough to make you focused and think, it's not entertainment but it's also about you as a viewer being involved in the process.
Maybe I'm a little biased when it comes to Inoue but she is definitely one of the greatest actresses of her generation. I have seen her play a tomboy-ish, loud, fierce and strong character in Hana Yori Dango. I have seen her as a girl madly in love in I Give My First Love to You. And here, her performance is superb. The purity, innocence and plain Jane parts of her character here were delivered well. Everyone is full of angst and jealousy and such yet she is the only one full of pain and showing that as an actress makes her the central focus.
Nanao as Noriko Miki is also great. She is able to become flexible with her character, sometimes nice, sometimes not. And it's that type of acting where you just become annoy with the character and you know it's effective because the acting is good enough to make you annoyed. Go Ayano as the desperate Akahoshi is pretty sympathetic to watch and I think his performance also made them film compelling given his up-to-date tweets.
And those tweets made the film show another side of murder mystery. It's showing how the internet (or technology in general) can either help you or condemn you. There's those detective elements and aspects that reinforces the film's objective, making sure you stay focus on the goal as a viewer much like the character.
Cinematography's good. Perhaps there's a tendency for conversations to be long and making shots last longer. But beautiful setting. Not to mention the beautiful score especially by Serizawa Brothers. I love the connection with Anne of Green Gables and the timeline that the film chooses to go back to and tie the whole thing up.
All in all, it is a murder-mystery but it gives you a different side highlighting to what extent would you actually believe people just to get to the answer? In the end, I don't think it'll give you much of a surprise. But how things came to be perhaps might. You would eventually feel bad for the suspect and hate the victim. This film is all about questioning. But that's not to say it's all just about murder. It is the central focus but it's not too heavy on that, there are instances where scenes are light, funny and even dramatic (especially with regards to Shinora's past and I love that).
Maybe the downs of the film is there are times when it seems to good to be true. Sort of wishy-washy. Like you'd actually start to question if such things are possible in real life. Hypocrisy if you think about it since the film tries to establish the "questioning" part. The goal is there true. But the message the film wants to send needs to be stronger. To me in some way, the Curse aspect seems out of place and is not too in sync with the story line though I understand that some of Inoue's past are needed to make her character stronger. (like the reunion-ish with the childhood friend?) Still, some parts of it are questionable.
Overall, Snow White Murder Case is a compelling mystery-thriller. It gives a different side to the story and has great actors especially Inoue's acting.
"Good things are coming."