I'd give this 3.5 stars, but didn't round up to 4 to avoid any misleading to others. However, I'm a strict critic having seen a fair few films, which means my standards and expectations are high.
The film pleasantly unveiled surprises and unexpected twists as it progressed, and i'm pleased to have been wrong in my initial estimates of where and how the plot would go. The film would arguably fit into the description of 'tension building' (as many contemporary Japanese films do) when compared to western world's offerings. Just as you were figuring the characters out, and considering where they may be taken, you're surprised by some new information much like the proverbial puzzle pieces gradually fitting together, and forming the more recogniseable and familiar overall picture.
Looking into the plot deeper (if that's your bag, though not essential for enjoying the film), you'll find an interesting 'commetary' on society generally, which you'll perhaps ponder and debate away with others if you like to fully immerse yourself within your film choices to get the most out of them, or simply enjoy the study of them and their context in life as the common phrase reminds us - life immitating art and art immitating life.
Buy it at a bargain price and enjoy the change from the norm!
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