Yudai ChibaHideo NakataMaryjun TakahashiKei Tanaka
Stolen Identity
Also known as: Sumaho o otoshita dake na no ni
Medium: film
Year: 2018
Director: Hideo Nakata
Writer: Tetsuya Oishi
Original creator: Akira Shiga
Actor: Keiko Kitagawa, Yudai Chiba, Ryo Narita, Kei Tanaka, Taizo Harada, Miwako Kakei, Jun Kaname, Takumi Kitamura, Kenta Sakai, Maryjun Takahashi
Keywords: rubbish
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 118 minutes
Url: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt8531044/
Website category: Japanese
Review date: 31 August 2019
It's so terrible that it made me worry about the Japanese film industry. (I saw it on the plane to Japan, but surely airlines try to filter out rubbish?) It's adapted from a novel that's presumably the source of its idiocies, but no one said they had to choose something this dumb.
It's directed by Hideo Nakata, incidentally, in case you had faith in the director of Ringu. (I see he's just released a new film in that series, called Sadako. I have low expectations, but I'll watch it.)
It's about online identity theft, password swiping, ransomware, etc. I'll admit that the first half's okay. Makoto Tomita (Kei Tanaka) wants to marry his girlfriend, Asami Inaba (Keiko Kitagawa). Unfortunately, one day, Tomita leaves his phone in a taxi. This doesn't seem so bad since Inaba soon manages to recover it, after someone finds it and phones her on it. However, as they note, your phone is a treasure trove of intimate and potentially dangerous information. The film does make this a bit creepy.
The next thing we see is a police search with dogs in a wood. They find five corpses. (One of the cops is played by Yudai Chiba, by the way, showing that his punchable smugness in ReLIFE wasn't just acting. It's him. He's quite good, though.)
Anyway, bad stuff starts happening to Inaba and Tomita. The film's got a list of stuff that can go wrong if stalkers and criminals hack your data. The technical stuff they get right. This film is a nifty guide for the wannabe cyber-crook. Offer your target something they really want at a tempting discount, for instance, if they pay from your "linked payment service", for instance.
However our heroes make a huge mistake in not cancelling all their cards, "Socialbook" accounts, etc. the moment it becomes obvious that they've been hacked. Someone orders over 500,000 yen of stuff online with Tomita's credit card, for instance. Ransomware infects Tomita's phone, then later Inaba's. Admittedly our heroes do take precautionary measures, but you know it won't be enough. If even half of that happened to you, you'd be scorching the earth. Seed the ground with salt.
It was halfway through that the film really lost me, though. The serial killer stalker uses Tomita and Inaba's online identities to set up offline meetings with people who fancy them. The stalker then does some real-life stalking of both dates and takes incriminating videos at the juiciest moments.
So far, so sleazy. However... (a) the stalker seems to have been spying on both dates throughout, simultaneously, in different locations. (b) Inaba and Tomita's videos gets emailed to each other. They both know they've got a cyber-stalker. They both know their own video is a contrived stitch-up from someone sinister. However they trust the video that's incriminating their partner.
SANE REACTION: I've been framed. Oh, look, my partner's being framed in the same way at the same time, after lots of scary identity theft problems. Let's take these to the police.
ACTUAL REACTION: they both believe the video that's been emailed to then and have an argument. D'oh.
It's just ridiculous. Even as an attempt at deceiving someone, it's so stupid that the scene destroys the film's credibility. After that, I was jeering... and the film got worse.
They keep not going to the police. Still no police. Oi, guys. Police. They don't go to the authorities even when Inaba gets kidnapped by a perpetrator of crimes against acting. (The stalker's a ham.) Tomita goes off and finds his abducted fiancee all on his own and yet again doesn't, sigh, tell the police. Might this put him in danger too? Why, yes! Too dumb to live? Bingo!
The film also flat-out cheats with a red herring about the stalker's identity. They sort of double back later to try to justify it... but no, that's a cheat.
There's a big dramatic confrontation. The stalker's about to kill our heroes... so of course this is the perfect time for Inaba to tell Tomita her big plot twist secret in an emotional ten-minute confessional flashback sequence. Bloody hell. (The secret in itself is quite clever, though. I'd missed it, even though the clues were in plain sight.)
After that, the cops arrive! Well, one cop. Wimpy Cop Who's No Good In A Fight (Yudai Chiba) arrives several minutes before his tougher, more experienced colleague even though they'd been heading for the crime scene in the same police car.
Then, once it's all over, Tomita has one last Big Relationship Stupid because this is a movie and you can't have people being sensible or anything.
Gyaaah. I lost patience with this film halfway through and actively hated the last 20-30 minutes. In fairness, there are some good lines at the end. With the supposedly grieving parents, for instance, "their children's phones were on, so they thought they were still alive."
However it's rubbish. It's cramming in way too much. Plausibility dies. It's like a rookie script from someone who's never written professionally and is trying to include everything. Ugh ugh ugh. No.