NYAFF 2021: Our Review of ‘Fable: The Killer Who Doesn’t Kill’

NYAFF 2021: Our Review of ‘Fable: The Killer Who Doesn’t Kill’

Fable: The Killer Who Doesn’t Kill tells the story of Akira Sato (Junichi Okada), a mysterious killer who others know as The Fable. Saviour to some, urban myth to others, these characters know The Fable for his ability to finish the job and immediately disappear into the night. Now though, Sato lives a quiet life with his partner Yoko (Fumino Kimura) and works part-time at a design company. However, Utsubo (Shinichi Tsutsumi), a representative for an NPO, begins to show his true colours. So Sato emerges from the shadow to complete an assignment that has plagued him for years.

Directed by Kan Eguchi, Fable is a wild action thriller that balances action with a social conscience. Often a treat for the eyes, the film’s thrilling action scenes are intense and well-constructed. (In particular, the film excellently executes one set piece that takes place on the scaffolding next to a building.) However, this film is all about Junichi Okada. Balancing his performance with grit and grace, Okada grounds the film as the damaged but honest Sato, providing its emotional core.

Underneath the action lies a heart for protecting the vulnerable. Although Utsubo seems generous and honest, he is the very definition of a predator. From sex work to abuse and extortion, he embodies toxic masculinity as he uses his strength to dominate and control others. In contrast to Utsubo’s corrupt soul is Sato. Although once a contract killer, Sato carries a moral code which drives him. To Sato, the vulnerable are to be protected, encouraged and empowered. In this way, the film uses its platform to fight on behalf of the vulnerable in order to preserve their innocence. And he helps them step forward into the future.

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Born at a very early age, Steve is a Toronto-based writer and podcaster who loves to listen to what matters to our culture on screen. When he first saw Indiana Jones steal the cross of Coronado, he knew his world would never be the same and, since then, he’s found more and more excuses to digest what’s in front of him onscreen. Also, having worked as a youth and community minister for almost 20 years, he learned that stories help everyone engage the world around them. He’s a proud hubby, father (x2) and believes that Citizen Kane, Batman Forever (yes, the Kilmer one), and The Social Network belong in the same conversation. You can hear his ramblings on ScreenFish Radio wherever podcasts are gettable or at his website, ScreenFish.net.
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