The Frame
dir Satoshi Isaka scr Hisashi Nozawa
with Hitomi Kuroki, Takanori Jinnai, Tetsuo Yamashita, Akira Shirai, Saburo Shinoda, Takeo Nakahara
release St Louis Film Fest Nov.00
99/Japan 1h47 3 out of 5 stars
Review by Rich Cline
Intelligently examining the concept of objectivity, the Japanese thriller The Frame keeps us guessing right up to the final scene, engaging our minds even as it keeps us on the edge of our seats.

Endo Yoko (Kuroki) is an ambitious young journalist, editing together reports for a top TV news programme. Her stories are gripping ratings-grabbers, even thoguh she plays a bit loosely with the facts. Then she becomes caught up in a conspiracy, a cat and mouse game in which she and her nemesis increasingly blur the boundaries of media manipulation.

Director Isaka uses a highly visual sense of style to capture the pressures of TV news deadlines ... and to play with the idea of journalistic subjectivity. The role of reportage in society is the central theme here--how can integrity be maintained in an increasingly competitive marketplace where twisting the facts earns more viewers? These ideas are examined very cleverly throughout the plot's central mystery, which is elaborate and creepy, and in which images on a videotape are used as weapons, rather than guns or knives. The film gets repetitive and drags a bit as it approaches its twisty ending, but it'll still leave you thinking.

[themes, violence, language] 3.Nov.00

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2000 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall

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