One night, Yasuko (Yasuko Matsuyuki) and her daughter Misato (Miho
Kanazawa) receive a visit from Yasuko's violent ex-husband (Keishi
Nagatsuka), and before you know it, they have killed him in self-defense.
Somehow, their neighbour Ishigami (Shinichi Tsutsumi), a maths teacher,
has become an involuntary witness of the whole thing, but instead of
reporting the whole thing, he helps Yasuko and daughter to cover it up,
even though they hardly know each other.
Days later, Yasuko and Misato
are questioned about the murder, but (thanks to Ishigami), they have an
airtight alibi, and the more they are questioned, the more facts turn up
to corroborate their story. Cops Utsumi (Kou Shibasaki) and Kusanagi
(Kazuki Kitamura) find themselves at a loss, because on one hand they are
sure the women are guilty, on the other hand, all facts prove them
innocent, so they turn to their scientist friend Galileo Yukawa
(Masaharu Fukuyama), who has helped them with impossible cases in
the past. Yukawa at first seems less than interested though ... until he
learns that the two suspects' neighbour is Ishigami, a man he knows from
university and considers a genius like himself - and now for Yukawa it
becomes a battle of wits ...
Meanwhile, Yasuko starts dating another
man, much to the dismay of Ishigami, who at first wants to force her into
submission based on the things he has done for her - but eventually he
realizes he has become exactly the kind of asshole Yasuko's ex has been,
and to make amends, he gives himself up to the police as Yasuko's ex's
murderer - and even though that's not the truth, all facts add up ...
confronts Ishigami one final time with his version of what has really
happened, that Ishigami killed a man the day after the actual murder and
sold him off as Yasuko's ex in order to give her and her daughter plenty
of opportunity to create an airtight alibi, and meanwhile he scattered
Yasuko's ex's bodyparts all over town to never be found - thus the women
never had to lie when it came to their alibi, no matter how they were
grilled by authorities. Ishigami admits to this only very indirectly and
inofficially, as he rather sacrifices himself for Yasuko.
when they moved into his appartment building, he was already on the verge
of killing himself, and only their kindness kept him from doing so ...
this is a big-screen version of the popular Japanese TV-series Garireo,
which also stars Masaharu Fukuyama as the scientist turned detective - however, plotwise the film easily stands on its own feet and is perfectly
comprehensible for anyone who has no knowledge about the series, too.
fact, Suspect X is quite a clever murder mystery that seems to
present all the facts in plain sight right at the beginning, yet throws in
so many twists and turns that it in the end seems to tell a totally
different story - even though rather ironically, the solution to the
puzzle - love - is given away in the first five minutes. In all its
cleverness, the film is not perfect though, mainly because it loses steam
exactly when it's supposed to really get going: when everything is
supposed to race upon a solution, the film is taking a detour, losing its
up until now steady pace and never really picking it up again later. Which
is a pity, because clocking in at over two hours, the film could easily
have done with a few cuts in length anyways without losing feature length,
and could have been widely improved at the same time.
Still, as it is,
the film might fall short of being a genre masterpiece, but it's an
above-average murder mystery anyways.