The job of anyone that is crafting a tale of mystery that takes place in any form of media has a very important, and I’d argue, difficult job. They have to make it intriguing in such a way to keep the audience in the dark and always guessing. Now, the Japanese cult phenomenon director, Takashi Miike, has dabbled in pretty much every genre in his unbelievable filmography of over 90 movies, and Detective Story is his combination of mystery, dark comedy, and his own brand of sick horror.
Raita (Claude Maki) is a Japanese business man who has recently moved into a new apartment. Coincidentally, Raita’s new neighbor is also a man named Raita (Kazuya Nakayama), a private detective who doesn’t really have both feet planted firmly on Earth. Detective Raita soon begins investigating a series of bizarre murders, in which the victims have had certain organs removed after they were killed. Evidence against the private detective is soon uncovered, so he pulls the business man Raita into the mix of things for help, and the two plunge deep into a sickening quest to clear the detective’s name and solve the mystery of these brutal killings.
There are things in this movie that remind you that you are watching a movie by Takashi Miike. The film was actually written by someone else, but Miike’s style is certainly injected into the story, mostly by the use of his twisted sense of humor and the brutality of some of the scenes. This definitely isn’t as gut wrenching as other films of his like Ichi the Killer and Audition, but Detective Story does have a fair share of scenes that will make the viewer squirm, but laugh at the same time.
The story is pretty muddled, as is the case of a lot of Miike’s films, but the difference between Detective Story and the other ones is that the others have things happening that really catch the viewer’s attention. The films I already mentioned have a sickening amount of over the top gore, and a movie like Sukiyaki Western Django has pretty insane action and art design that kept me interested, even when the story sort of fell through the cracks. Detective Story doesn’t really have any of this. The beginning and ending are both strong and grabbed me, but the entire middle part is filled with people just running around, doing a whole lot of what seemed like nothing. I felt like the plot got stuck in the mud and was just moving for the sake of a run time.
Now, there are really cool scenes, don’t get me wrong. Unfortunately, my copy of the movie had some things awkwardly blurred out, which kind of pulled me out of the movie for a second. Still there are other scenes that will shock, and others that will make you laugh. Nakayama’s performance is gleefully silly which is nice in a movie that had the potential to be so morbid. A lot of the humor in this movie comes from Nakayama’s ineptness getting in the way of him and anyone else solving the case. There are also a few gory scenes that will be remembered, but that doesn’t really make up for what is a really boring movie.
I don’t really have much to say about Detective Story because it’s pretty forgettable, save for a few scenes. The story gets so caught up in itself and has this weird way of moving that I felt like I was missing stuff, but it turns out nothing was really happening. I can’t say I was really expecting too much from this movie, but I will say that I expected more. Fans of Takashi Miike will want to see it for his strange sense of humor and a few cool gory scenes, but the rest of the movie falls short and will kinda fade into my memory until it is hardly remembered.