|Murakami Nijiro in The Gun (Photo: © YOSHIMOTO KOGYO)
On a dark and rainy night, college student Toru Nishikawa (Murakami Nijiro, Destruction Babies) comes across a handgun. Without much thought, he picks it up and takes it to his home. Later he sees a television news item that the body of a male in his 40s or 50s had been found near the Arakawa River in Itabashi Ward. The deceased had been shot in the head and been dead for about five days.
Undeterred by the gun’s apparent association with a homicide, Toru continues to covet it. Initially he’s satisfied with just taking it out and polishing it occasionally. However, it gradually begins to take greater and greater hold on his somewhat fragile and damaged psyche and he begins to carrying it around with him, gradually becoming more obsessed with the idea of actually firing it.
The situation also takes a toll on his love life, interfering with his relationship with one girl that he’s just sleeeping with and with his more romantic one with Yuko Yoshikawa (Alice Hirose, Kamen Rider Movie War 2010), a fellow student.
Most disturbing is the appearance of a detective (Lily Franky, Shoplifters) who is sure that Toru is in possession of the weapon. He’s basically certain that the young man is not a murderer and tries to convince him to disassemble it and disperse the pieces, lest he be eventually tempted to use it, with disastrous consequences.
Director Masaharu Take displays a sure hand in moving this slow-burner of a psychological thriller/drama along. Another of his films, 100 Yen Love (2014) was showcased at the 2015 JAPAN CUTS Festival of New Japanese Film, so he’s no stranger to the New York Asian film festival scene. The film is shot for almost its 97 minute running length in beautiful, high contrast black and white. (Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to ascertain the cinematographer.)
The Gun will have its North American Premiers at the New York Asian Film Festival on Sunday, June 30th at 6:15 pm. Tickets for The Gun can be purchased here.
AsianCIneFest Rating: 3 out of 4 stars; a solid noir-ish, psychological thriller.