Villain (15)

Starring: Eri Fukatsu, Satoshi Tsumabuki
Click to follow
The Independent Culture

No relation to the Richard Burton gangster flick of the early 1970s.

The Japanese coastal town where Lee Sang-il's melodrama is set seems to get more rainfall than Wales, a suitably dismal backdrop to the lives of quiet desperation it considers. Two lonely people, a taciturn construction worker (Satoshi Tsumabuki) and a shop assistant bachelorette (Eri Fukatsu) meet and fall in love, while the audience wonders if the former is actually the culprit in a recent roadside murder. The weird keening noises in his head seem to suggest that he is. The film's playing on our sympathy is compelling, though very slow, and bloats a running time already stretched by its examination of parental bereavement, remorse, emotional cruelty and the plight of the repressed Japanese male. A lot to process, and you feel the effort.