The Mystery of Rampo | Chicago Reader

The Mystery of Rampo

The subject of this feature by former Japanese producer Kazuyoshi Okuyama is promising: the life and times of the famous Japanese mystery writer Edogawa Rampo. The film mixes Rampo's biography with one of his stories in a way that initially suggests Hammett and Naked Lunch, but it ultimately gives in to the scattershot sleaze of Mishima—it's a sort of Lifestyles of the Rich and Decadent that bypasses early references to Vertigo and Last Year at Marienbad to become a tale of obsessive love that ultimately drowns in its mannerist self-infatuation. We're treated to one effect after another rather than a coherent story, and the resulting spectacle is striking but tacky. With Naoto Takenaka, Michiko Hada, and Mikijiro Hira; Yuhei Enoki collaborated on the script.

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