Sometimes something about a movie just appeals to you for some reason and other times, you know exactly why you’re watching. In this case, it is the latter and we wanted to see this movie specifically because it starred Hiroshi Abe, probably my favorite male Japanese actor. I’d watch this guy gargle. So we have a detective film, based on a book by Keigo Higashino, whose books also gave rise to things like Galileo and Shinzanmono, which this movie is related to, how could we possibly go wrong? Therefore, let’s take a look at The Wings of the Kirin.
After a man’s body is found on the famous Nihonbashi Bridge next to a statue of a kirin, Detective Kyoichiro Kaga investigates to find who stabbed him. A suspect is found with the dead man’s wallet, but he’s hit by a truck. His girlfriend insists that he couldn’t have been responsible for the murder and as Kaga digs deeper into the mystery, he finds a web of clues linking the dead man, his son, the injured suspect and a high school swimming accident from years before, leading to a much more complex mystery than was apparent at first.
I love Hiroshi Abe. He’s fantastic. I started watching him back in 2000 in the original Trick and every sequel thereafter, but he’s been in everything from Godzilla 2000 to Orochi the Eight-Headed Dragon to the aforementioned Shinzanmono. I have never seen him in anything that I didn’t love. That might color my judgement a little, but honestly, he picks some great projects and he acts the hell out of them.
The mystery is complex and winding, you never really know all of the details until the very end and you really never know exactly who is responsible until all of the clues are carefully laid out. Unlike a lot of mysteries I see, there aren’t a ton of red herrings tossed around, the police actually have good reasons to think that various people are involved and they are eliminated through a preponderance of the evidence, not on a whim. It isn’t action packed or filled with fights but if you’re a fan of mysteries, it will keep you glued to your seat.
Because this is a long film, clocking in at more than two hours, you might expect that it gets boring in the middle but you’d be wrong. Director Doi Nobuhiro keeps the story tight and something is always happening, the story never gets bogged down with meaningless side stories, everything has a point and leads back to the central story line. This is a movie for mystery fans who want a good payoff and trust me, you get it in the end. Go look it up, especially if you saw any of the other various Shinzanmono series or movies, you’ll love it.