Retribution (2006 film)

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Directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa
Written by Kiyoshi Kurosawa
Starring Koji Yakusho
Manami Konishi
Riona Hazuki
Tsuyoshi Ihara
Joe Odagiri
Ryo Kase
Music by Kuniaki Haishima
Cinematography Akiko Ashizawa
Edited by Nobuyuki Takahashi
Distributed by Avex Entertainment
Xanadeux Company
Release date
  • September 3, 2006 (2006-09-03) (Venice Film Festival)
  • February 24, 2007 (2007-02-24) (Japan)
Running time
104 minutes
Country Japan
Language Japanese

Retribution (, Sakebi?) is a 2006 Japanese mystery film directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa, starring Koji Yakusho, of a detective's investigation of serial murders that leads him to a mysterious woman in red who slowly draws him into the darkness.


Yoshioka, an experienced detective, investigates the murder of an unknown woman in a red dress. She was drowned on the Tokyo waterfront, but an autopsy reveals that her stomach is full of seawater. Moreover, all the clues he finds relate to himself: A button found at the murder scene matches one that is missing from his own coat, and fingerprints found match his own. Yoshioka realizes that the only viable suspect is himself; but he doesn't remember a thing.

A ghost in a red dress soon starts appearing to him. As these apparitions become more intense and bizarre, similar murders occur with people killing loved ones for small infractions. All the perpetrators are found by Yoshioka as he searches for clues about the original murder. Eventually the drowned woman is identified. Yoshioka visits her parents, only to find she had a boyfriend who was extorting her parents, who happens to visit the house at the same time. He quickly confesses to the crime.

Yoshioka is visited by the ghost again who reveals that she is not the murdered woman, but a ghost of a woman whom he saw in the window of an asylum fifteen years ago who has died. All of the murderers took the ferry past the same asylum. Yoshioka sends his girlfriend away, afraid of what he might do to her. He goes to the asylum, where the woman in red agrees to forgive him for not helping her 15 years ago. He goes home, only to discover that he murdered his girlfriend 6 months ago. Going insane, he tries to forget. He collects the bones, and goes to the asylum to pick up the ghost's bones. His partner arrives at his apartment like the bowl of water, which was used to commit the murder, empty as the ghost menaces him in the background. An earthquake occurs as the bowl is refilled. The ghost suddenly appears and drags him into the bowl. The film ends with Yoshioka walking in the street holding a bag containing his girlfriend's and the ghost's bones, with the ghost repeatedly saying: "I am dead. So please, I want everyone to die too".



The film was released as part of producer Takashige Ichise's J-Horror Theater series along with Infection, Premonition, and Reincarnation, among others.[1]


Adam DiLeo of IGN gave Retribution a mixed review, saying that the films is worth seeing despite it is not on par with Kiyoshi Kurosawa's previous films such as Cure and Bright Future.[2] Derek Elley of Variety praised Koji Yakusho's performance, saying he "makes an ideal protagonist, one with whom the audience is never quite sure whether it can identify".[3]

As F18, the ghost of the film, is seeking revenge from past events of which every protagonist is apparently responsible, the horror in Retribution has been seen by some as expressing some kind of social illness and collective guilt in our contemporary world.[4][5]


  1. ^ Logboy (August 18, 2006). "Reminder : 'Reincarnation' Uncut R2 UK DVD August 21st 2006.". Twitch Film. 
  2. ^ DiLeo, Adam (June 25, 2007). "NY Asian Film Festival 07: Retribution". IGN. 
  3. ^ Elley, Derek (October 10, 2006). "Review: "Retribution"". Variety. 
  4. ^ "Retribution". Cinepinion. July 6, 2007. Retrieved April 20, 2008. 
  5. ^ "Retribution". February 21, 2007. Retrieved April 20, 2008. 

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