This is a mammoth film in terms of length and attempted scope. It tells the story of Takeda (Shun Segata) a low ranking police officer who after being noticed for being kind by the daughter of a politician, comes to the notice of the Police Chief. He is taken under his wing, or more accurately is controlled from that point onwards by his Chief. The immediate promotion leads him unfailingly to follow every order.
He soon accepts everything he is told to do even when he knows it is morally repugnant and worse downright illegal. The control exerted over him stretches to his private life too so that what first appears as a balanced loving relationship with his pregnant wife soon fades into the background, and she becomes almost a part player.
The corruption is picked up by a `renegade investigator' as described on the cover, we would just say an investigative journalist, and he gathers volumes of evidence. All of which his `newspaper' refuses to use and eventually turn on him. This forms the other strand to the story, in that not only are the police portrayed as corrupt but worse the press are willingly complicit and as the film unfolds so is virtually everyone. Whilst a ficyional account Takahashi claims it is based on actual events.
That is why this film directed by Gen Takahashi was banned in Japan. It portrays everyone of Japans police as corrupt or about to be turned, they frame anyone that will not work with them, are involved in rape, extortion and international drug dealing, including the Korean Mafia. Whilst this sounds like a plot spoiler it really is not. At 195 minutes there is an awful lot to tell and being so long requires commitment - I had to watch in two sittings.
My copy is the region 2, limited 1000 edition which contains a collectable 35mm film cell and the bonus disc contains a `making of', an interview with Gen Takahasi and a panel discussion at Shinsedai Film Festival amongst others; so this presents as excellent value for money for the thrift minded. Presented in Japanese (some Korean and English) with English subtitles and here is a gripe, when Korean is being spoken the Japanese sub titles appear over the English making it nigh on impossible to read. Also it does feel overly long especially as the pace really slows down towards the end. Why Japan chose to ban it is of more concern, since in the West we have been happy with corruption films for many years. As a fan of foreign cinema I think this is a must see but as I said commitment is definitely required.