The Mystery of Rampo

The Mystery of Rampo ★★

I hate to rate this so low, because I love it when a film goes this hard, and there are many elements I enjoy, but all together this feels like a mess.

A surreal mystery is set up involving Japanese writer Edogawa Rampo and an unpublished manuscript. Rampo hesitantly investigates, then turns to writing his own story about the case, and very quickly reality and fantasy seem to blur. This aspect reminds me of MISHIMA or MULHOLLAND DRIVE, but as those movies intrigue with their reality bending, the surreality of RAMPO feels muddled and confusing.

Apparently, the story is inspired by the work of the actual Edogawa Rampo, and strives to recreate the themes and atmosphere of his work. I'm unfamiliar with it, so I don't know if it succeeds. I wonder if it would illuminate the parts that seemed more baffling to me.

Interesting to see Naoto Takenaka in a dramatic role, as I'm more used to seeing him as comic relief. He does well enough here, but he doesn't seem to have much to do here other than look sweaty and nervous.