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Soredemo Boku wa Yattenai (I Just Didn't Do It) (DVD) (Standard Edition) (Japan Version) DVD Region 2

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Soredemo Boku wa Yattenai (I Just Didn't Do It) (DVD) (Standard Edition) (Japan Version)
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All Editions Rating: Customer Review Rated Bad 8 - 8 out of 10 (1)

YesAsia Editorial Description

After an 11-year absence, Shall We Dance? director Suo Masayuki finally returns to Japanese cinemas with his new film I Just Didn't Do It (a.k.a. Soredemo Boku wa Yattenai). Inspired by a real-life case, this movie-with-a-message exposes the inherent flaws and arduous formalities of the Japanese legal system by documenting the extraordinary journey of an average man who just wants to say he's innocent. Japan has a remarkable conviction rate of 99%, a product of the country's tough stance on crime and the court's "presumed guilty until proven innocent" system, which places the responsibility of proving innocence solely on the defendant. Suo Masayaki, who cares very strongly about the issue, spent four years researching and preparing for the film, as apparent in the precise and detailed courtroom scenes which very acutely capture the frustrating inertia of the justice system. Kase Ryo (Letters from Iwo Jima, Nice no Mori) stars as the film's hapless hero, while Yakusho Koji, star of Shall We Dance?, and Seto Asaki (Death Note) portray lawyers who champion his cause.

Kaneko Teppei (Kase Ryo) heads off to a job interview one morning by subway. As he gets off the crowded commuter train, a high school girl accuses him of sexual harassment, and he is apprehended on the spot. At the police station, the police and his court-appointed attorney advise him to just confess, in which case he would be released after settling compensation with the victim. Teppei, however, emphatically denies the charges, refusing to give in when he is innocent. Held in detention, he begins a long and harrowing battle with the grueling court system.

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Technical Information

Product Title: Soredemo Boku wa Yattenai (I Just Didn't Do It) (DVD) (Standard Edition) (Japan Version) 儘管如此我沒做過 (DVD) (Standard Edition) (日本版) 尽管如此我没做过 (DVD) (Standard Edition) (日本版) それでもボクはやってない スタンダード・エディション スタンダード・エディション Soredemo Boku wa Yattenai (I Just Didn't Do It) (DVD) (Standard Edition) (Japan Version)
Artist Name(s): Yakusho Koji | Seto Asaka | Motai Masako | Kase Ryo | Yamamoto Koji 役所廣司 | 瀨戶朝香 | Motai Masako | 加瀨亮 | 山本耕史 役所广司 | 濑户朝香 | Motai Masako | 加濑亮 | 山本耕史 役所広司 | 瀬戸朝香 | もたいまさこ | 加瀬亮 | 山本耕史 Yakusho Koji | Seto Asaka | Motai Masako | 카세 료 | Yamamoto Koji
Director: Suo Masayuki 周防正行 周防正行 周防正行 Suo Masayuki
Release Date: 2007-08-10
Publisher Product Code: TDV-17232D
Language: Japanese
Subtitles: Japanese
Country of Origin: Japan
Picture Format: NTSC What is it?
Disc Format(s): DVD
Region Code: 2 - Japan, Europe, South Africa, Greenland and the Middle East (including Egypt) What is it?
Publisher: Altamira Pictures
Other Information: DVD
Shipment Unit: 1 What is it?
YesAsia Catalog No.: 1004843627

Product Information

タイトル:それでもボクはやってない スタンダード・エディション





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Other Versions of "Soredemo Boku wa Yattenai (I Just Didn't Do It) (DVD) (Standard Edition) (Japan Version)"

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This film has won 3 award(s) and received 8 award nomination(s).
  • Japan Academy Prize 2008
    • Picture of the Year Nomination
    • Director of the Year Nomination, Suo Masayuki
    • Screen Play of the Year Nomination, Suo Masayuki
    • Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role Nomination, Kase Ryo
    • Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role Winner, Motai Masako
    • Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography Nomination, Naoki Kayano
    • Outstanding Achievement in Film Editing Winner
    • Outstanding Achievement in Art Direction Winner, Heya Kyoko
    • Outstanding Achievement in Music Nomination, Suho Yoshikazu
    • Outstanding Achievement in Sound Recording Nomination
    • Outstanding Achievement in Lighting Direction Nomination
All Award-Winning Asian Films

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YumCha! Asian Entertainment Reviews and Features

Professional Review of "Soredemo Boku wa Yattenai (I Just Didn't Do It) (DVD) (Standard Edition) (Japan Version)"

December 17, 2008

This professional review refers to I Just Didn't Do It (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version)
A man is on his way to a job interview. In a rush, he packs himself into a stuffed commuter train. As he gets off the train, a young girl in a high school uniform grabs his arm on the platform and accuses him of molesting her on the train. He is immediately arrested and dragged through the gauntlet of endless interrogations by different people, forcing him to repeat the same story. Even though train molestation cases have a 99.9% conviction rate because of the overwhelming amount of resulting confessions, the man is insistent of his innocence. Even when the foul-tempered detective and the indifferent prosecutor try to coerce a confession with the promise of just a small fine and no criminal record, he still claims to be innocent. However, the presumed guilt of train gropers in Japan is so prevalent that even his own attorney - a woman - initially doesn't believe of his innocence.

This is the losing hand that Teppei (Ryo Kase), the victimized hero of Masayuki Suo's I Just Didn't Do It, has been dealt with. Straying far from the comic charm of his 1996 classic Shall We Dance, Suo takes a 180-degree turn into serious drama with this infuriating look at the Japanese court system. Showing Teppei's prosecution step-by-step from arrest to sentencing, Suo's film is the result of years of research and his resulting anger towards the Japanese legal system.

Unlike the United States, where defendants are only guilty when proven beyond any reasonable doubt, defendants in Japan have to make an effort to undo any presumed guilt. Even though Teppei's case is mostly built on circumstantial evidence (e.g., pornography in his apartment) and witness testimonies that are proven to be unreliable, his team of attorneys (played by Koji Yakusho and Asaka Seto) has to go to the depths of recreating the entire incident (with surprising comic effect) to prove Teppei's innocence.

Despite Suo's admitted anger, his direction is fairly restrained, showing every single step that Teppei goes through in the court system with realism and accuracy. Even though the details threaten to drain the film of its drama, Suo finds a balance between presenting the truth and intriguing characters worth following. Ryo Kase plays Teppei without much emotion (a man in such an overwhelming situation would rarely have any), but his righteous naiveté also makes him an immensely likable character that's worth following and rooting for.

Suo also doesn't reach for anything beyond his portrayal of the imperfect Japanese court system. By choosing to not delve into the psychology of groping or even the possible consequences of exonerating the guilty (of course, that's not very likely given the fact that only 3% of people are exonerated in such cases), Suo's film is detailed without becoming overstuffed with ideology. Even though sticking strictly to the facts gives I Just Didn't Do It a focus that effectively sustains the drama for its long 142-minute running time, inserting such related issues would've stirred up even more intriguing post-screening debates.

In 2009, Japan will be introducing a lay judge system, in which citizen jury members, not one judge, decide on the fate of the accused. This makes I Just Didn't Do It even more timely as a record (albeit fictional) of the soon-to-be-outdated court system. Even though Suo made the film out of his frustration with the system, it's also presented in a surprisingly even-handed fashion. Teppei may be surrounded by people who automatically believe that he's guilty, but he also encounters kind souls within the system, including a kind judge who's as lenient as he is fair and a legal advocate in a similar situation as Teppei.

Of course, I Just Didn't Do It is still a damning indictment of Japanese society's general attitude towards law and order, from careless train station staffs to the entire legal system, and even to the real train gropers themselves. If you believe in justice and you care about how your own justice system works, I Just Didn't Do It will enlighten as much as it will infuriate you. If Suo makes good on his promise to make more films about the Japanese legal system, then the man whose career success came from a ballroom dancing movie may just end up becoming one of Japan's most important filmmakers.

By Kevin Ma

This original content has been created by or licensed to YesAsia.com, and cannot be copied or republished in any medium without the express written permission of YesAsia.com.

Customer Review of "Soredemo Boku wa Yattenai (I Just Didn't Do It) (DVD) (Standard Edition) (Japan Version)"

Average Customer Rating for All Editions of this Product: Customer Review Rated Bad 8 - 8 out of 10 (1)

Kevin Kennedy
See all my reviews

March 5, 2009

This customer review refers to I Just Didn't Do It (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version)
Don't get arrested in Japan!!! Customer Review Rated Bad 8 - 8 out of 10
"I Just Didn't Do It" is an astonishing, gripping indictment of the Japanese criminal justice system. Kase Ryo plays Kaneko Teppei, an unemployed young man rushing to a job interview. After he is jammed into a grossly overcrowded train car, he realizes that his suit coat is caught in the subway door. As he struggles to free it, he bumps up against the passengers surrounding him. The high school girl standing in front of him then accuses him of groping her. Thus begins Teppei's descent into the cold, forbidding world of Japanese law enforcement.

Teppei is held in jail without an opportunity to be bailed out for four months, during which time he is subjected to a seemingly endless series of brow-beating questioning sessions by prosecutors and police detectives, sessions in which he is not entitled to have his attorney present. As an American lawyer, I found this revelation of the Japanese system to be shocking. It is little wonder than 99.9% of Japanese criminal cases end in convictions; the system is almost entirely rigged in the prosecution's favor.

Our knowledge of Teppei's innocence makes the film very suspenseful. We watch in disbelief as we see Teppei's fate unwind. Kase Ryo gives a masterful performance as Teppei; the quiet way he projects Teppei's cauldron of emotions is impressive. Yakusho Koji and Seto Asaki give similarly fine performances as Teppei's lawyers. While on a couple occasions the film's narrative flags as the characters engage in necessary exposition to help the viewers understand the nature and complexity of the legal processes, director Suo Masayuki manages to tell this story in a very engaging manner. The film's 143-minute running length assuredly does not seem overlong. I recommend "I Just Didn't Do It" very highly; it realistically depicts a side of Japan of which we seldom catch a glimpse.

By the way, one of the professional reviews on this page notes that this year Japan will reintroduce jury trials to its legal system. However, jury trials will occur only in cases involving very serious crimes. Even under the new system, Teppei's case would not be tried before a jury.
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