(a film review by Mark R. Leeper)

WIFE OF A SPY (SUPAI NO TSUMA): (**SPOILERS**) We have seen a lot of spy thrillers set in Europe, usually with American or British spies, but WIFE OF A SPY is a bit different. This, the latest film from Kiyoshi Kurosawa (not relation to Akira Kurosawa), is set in 1940 in Japan, and has as its spy a Japanese businessman. We can tell he has some problems with the current Japanese government, as he and his wife are warned they are too Westernized (clothing-- although the clothing edict seems to apply mostly to women--whiskey choices, etc.). (Several of the conversations between the main character and his friend in the Japanese security forces, discussing whether to inform on people, seem reminiscent of conversations between Ben-Hur and Masala.) The plot is not always easy to follow, and several characters are not what they seem (well, it is a spy thriller). There is probably a lot that Japanese audiences will pick up on that Western audiences might miss (e.g., apparently one of the wall hangings has a motto that can be taken as a comment on the situation), but others are clearer (a comment about a year-end corporate gift of rice cakes and sugar is that it is to help with the ration cards). Halfway through we discover the focus of the espionage which is the Japanese medical experiments at the infamous Unit 731 in Manchuria/Manchukuo. The Japanese government kept quiet on "crimes against humanity" for decades and the secret was basically kept for many years after the war, though some hints leaked out. It was not until this century that court cases and some official acknowledgement by the Japanese government has happened.

Released theatrically 09/17/21; available on various streaming services. Rating: low +2 (-4 to +4), or 7/10.

Film Credits: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt11917942/reference

What others are saying: https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/wife_of_a_spy

					Mark R. Leeper
					Copyright 2022 Mark R. Leeper