A man struggles to reconcile what appears to be his own false identity. After finding his wife’s corpse in his home and then receiving a phone call from her, he discovers he can’t trust his own memories of who he is. He believes himself to be an ordinary Japanese man named Taketo Ishigami, but for some reason, he finds that he knows complex chemistry and is being chased by a group of mysterious men demanding him to tell them about someone named Oh Jin Woo. With the help of a Korean journalist that came to Japan to follow a lead on a seemingly related story, Ishigami desperately tries to unravel the maddening puzzle of his own existence.
~~ A Japan-Korea co-produced movie based on the Japanese science fiction novel "Genomu Hazado" by Tsukasaki Shiro.
Cast & Credits
Depending on the angle you judge it from, Genome Hazard can be considered as a very engaging thriller. At the matter of fact, the picture was divided into several genres. I wouldn’t say they were in complete harmony but some of them worked out in a good manner. The mystery/thriller part was pretty well-executed; the build-up of suspenseful events was definitely able to trigger the audience‘s attention. At some point, you’d find yourself relating to the main character and trying to solve the puzzling equation by his side: a normal man with a double identity and an apparent amnesia, or is it? It’s a complete relief that the screenwriting didn’t try any mischievous attempts to out shadow its viewers.
The other part is Science fiction, I completely respect the idea of turning this into some type of a medical thriller with all of those virus/pharmaceutical schemes but I am sure that the screenwriter (or more like the original novel perhaps) didn’t know how to handle the part overall. Somehow, it felt a bit sarcastic towards science even in a discreet way. This opinion is not based on the fact that I am a scientist myself – although it did trigger me a little. I believe the outcome they resulted from that long science fiction battle was absolutely disappointing. I mean if you were going to go all out and crazy about a scientific fact then you should’ve proved that the trip was worth it. The scientific part obviously failed at portraying a deep meaningful issue.
Genome Hazard had attempts of building romance as well but I don’t think it was successful at that part either. There were too many love interests but none of them came out convincing. Well, it’s unavoidable because when you’re making a film that’s packed with different themes, it comes natural to fail some genres for the favour of others. The thriller/mystery part outclassed Sci-Fi and Romance by miles.
Nishijima Hidetoshi was the absolute star of the picture. That actor’s theatrical acting style and gaze always had me at the edge of my seat; he will always make his character so charismatic and attention-grabbing. His role in this film proved me how much I love to see him on screen. By his side was the Korean actress Kim Hyo Jin; this was the first time meeting her and I would say it was a pleasant introduction. The girl has some cool talent in her; I deeply respect her dedication to learn Japanese solely for this role. The rest of the cast were also fitting; Maki Yoko and Ibu Masato are few to mention.
This film’s directing was so fine. I am not so familiar with Kim Sung Soo but his editing style and camera angles were pretty well-handled. The cinematography was also good and rather catching. I don’t have a clear memory about the musical note though, I think it wasn’t so different from what normal thrillers use as their soundtracks.
-You like thrillers, Japanese or Korean style.
-You like intriguing mysteries.
Do not watch if:
-You don’t appreciate thrillers.
-You’re looking for a strong deep Sci-Fi.
Genome Hazard is a very captivating thriller at first sight but it’s true that it fails at building a coherent storytelling. It’s not perfect by any mean but it’s unquestionably entertaining and engaging in its own way.
Music gets a 5 only because well, there isnt really an OST. Its just instrumental, albeit wonderful instrumental.
This all around gets 9.5 for me. It is an amazing movie that I suggest everyone check out!