Directed by Kihachi Okamoto
Written by Shinichi Sekizawa
Cast: Yûzô Kayama, Makoto Satô, Tatsuya Mihashi, Kumi Mizuno, Mie Hama, Ichirô Nakatani and Mickey Curtis
A whaler searches the truth behind the murder of his brother with the help of a mischievous tabloid reporter.
With a plot that would be right at home in a pulp fiction novel. Blueprint of Murder is an intriguing mystery of corporate espionage that delves into the criminal underworld. There is an endless amount of whaling allegories at your disposal. But, what’s more amusing is the blatant references to James Dean’s character from Rebel Without Cause in how two characters dress.There is this playful tune that always notes the incoming suspense. It’s hard to describe, but the tune is quite catchy and gets you excited for what is going to unfold. However, others may object to this.
It’s shot in color in the days where black and white was the norm. Though, the lack of color is closer to film noir. The colors give it several film noir-inspired scenes more character. Such as a nightclub scene that’s both haunting and visually alluring to the eye. It serves as a unique character introduction when you start to read between the lines of the lyrics. Luckily, the movie doesn’t wear the truth on on its sleeve, so, the sense of mystery doesn’t stop until the last moments. It would have been easy to stretch the running time, but thankfully a brisk pace is here with little to no wasted padding. Everyone here is trying to outwit each other mentally. So, you don’t know what to expect typically. Although, the movie might take this aspect too far. It’s like the film expects you to know all of the inner thoughts of the characters, so, it can be confusing what exactly is going on at points. This could be the side-effect of the brisk pace though.
The cast is the typical roster of the actors that Kihachi Okamoto typically uses. All of them excel in their roles, but the two leads of Jirô Kusaka and Ken Sudô takes the cake. The chemistry between the two is solid, and the playful banter between them is fun to watch. Ken is probably the most notable character here. He’s a very sly and eccentric character. Ken feels like an odd callback to the character that Makoto Satô played in Desperado Outpost. The mischievous Ken brings some levity to a mostly stoic cast. Though, there are a few less than serious characters. Jirô is a hero that oozes rightful indignation, so, he quickly captured your sympathy. The villains are the simplistic types, but it’s more about the mystery surrounding them. The ending is an engaging enough for its action and the impending truth finally appearing in such a dramatic manner.
Blueprint of Murder is a colorful film noir that’s effective at creating mystery and being a thriller.