Retribution: a movie review

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An unidentified woman in a red dress is found murdered, apparently drowned in a small puddle on a vacant lot. The maverick detective (Kôji Yakusho) investigating the case is puzzled, not only because the victim’s lungs are filled with salt water, but — more chillingly — because the preliminary clues point back to him.
Writer-director Kiyoshi Kurosawa (Cure, Seance, Pulse, Doppelgänger) suffuses Retribution with his trademarks: dreamy, erratic pacing; glancing strikes of obscure dread; unfocused guilt and regret; a shuddering descent into madness. Originally titled Sakebi (“scream”), Retribution features a truly unsettling scream: a mournful, eldritch wail that feels utterly uncinematic, a cry that erodes the wall between reality and the dread that lurks in darkness.
Like so much of Kurosawa’s work, it might creep up on you: the first time I heard that scream, I guffawed and thought of the cranky raccoons that used to haunt our garbage pails… but the second time, I shuddered and clicked on a light.

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