Zero Focus (1961)
Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.
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Critic Reviews for Zero Focus
Sentimental strings help to relate this drama to Western noir of years ago. But landscape, season and historical context also couple the stylish film to a distinctly Eastern sensibility.
Audience Reviews for Zero Focus
An excellent mystery film. Can appropriately be called Hitchcockian in terms both of storyline and atmosphere but it also in many ways can be described as film noir. Very well photographed. A film mystery fans should definitely see.
In "Zero Focus, Teiko(Yoshiko Yuga) and Kenichi Uhara(Koji Nanbara) have been married for a week and they are about to settle down in Tokyo. All he has to do before formally transferring there for the ad company where he works is to meet with his successor, Honda(Takanobu Hozumi), and take care of some old business at the branch in Kanazawa. However, five days later, Kenichi has not returned and his brother Sotaro(Ko Nishimura) has not heard from him. So, the company sends Teiko and a company representative to Kanazawa but still no news until they hear from the police... "Zero Focus" may not be the most vibrant movie ever made, but it works its methodical way in solving a compelling mystery, using a judicious use of jump editing to move around in time and memory. Underlying that mystery is a pointed critique of Japanese society, namely marriage which is necessary for any kind of respectability which seems to be only skin deep, like the advertising Kenichi works on.(On the other hand, any country where you do not need a car to get to the most remote parts cannot be all bad.) For example, there is Teiko who is forced by societal constraints to marry a man she hardly knows(to be honest, nobody seems to know much about Kenichi) or work in menial labor. However, as the movie proves as it goes on, she is a first class detective, as she works to decipher the clues surrounding her husband's disappearance.
Rather interesting and clever B&W mid-Century murder mystery, even more surprising in that it hails from Japanese cinema. Shortly after her marriage, A wife's "salaryman" heads out of town to remote prefecture of northern Japan on what is supposed to be his last bit of business with his current employer. Instead, he vanishes into thin air. The wife has to travel north to sleuth it out for herself, and it's a twisty, turny trip indeed. To say any more would spoil. RECOMMENDATION: If you like the genre, you'll love this taste of it, garnished with wasabi.
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