“Twisted Justice” (日本で一番悪い奴ら) – 2016 NYAFF Review

Photo: © 2016 Twisted Justice Film Partners

The lone world premiere at the New York Asian Film Festival is its opening film, Kazuya Shiraishi’s “Twisted Justice.” A true story propels its plot: one of the biggest scandals in Japanese police history in which only a single cop was jailed (nine years for drugs and firearms possession). 

While Go Ayano admirably portrays a young and later aging Morohoshi, the fictional doppelganger of Yoshiaki Inaba – that real-life cop in question – “Twisted Justice” comes across as a parody rather than an observation of a man’s professional and personal descent as a pawn of a corrupt system.  Early on, a subservient Morohoshi is shown the ropes by some unscrupulous superiors, but his switch from a naïve junior to a competitive colleague absorbed in debauchery is a bit too abrupt and at times more comical than it should be.  It’s a shame because much care was spent on other aspects – particularly the hazy cinematography matching the three decades it depicts – but the picture’s inability to escape exaggeration makes it difficult to take this story seriously.

“Twisted Justice” makes its world premiere at the New York Asian Film Festival on Wed., June 22 at 7 p.m.  Director Shiraishi and producer Yoshinori Chiba will attend.  The film screens again on Tues., June 28 at 6 p.m.  Ayano will attend that showing where he will receive a Screen International Rising Star Asia Award.