The Third Murder

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The Third Murder
Sandome no Satsujin poster.png
Theatrical release poster
Japanese 三度目の殺人
Hepburn Sandome no Satsujin
Directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda
Produced byMatsuzaki Kaoru
Taguchi Hijiri
Screenplay byHirokazu Kore-eda
Music by Ludovico Einaudi
CinematographyMikiya Takimoto
Edited byHirokazu Kore-eda
Fuji Television Network
GAGA Corporation
Distributed by Toho
GAGA Corporation
Release date
  • 4 September 2017 (2017-09-04)(Venice)
  • 9 September 2017 (2017-09-09)(Japan)
Running time
124 minutes
Box office$12.38 million [1]

The Third Murder (三度目の殺人, Sandome no Satsujin) is a 2017 Japanese legal thriller film edited, written, and directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda. [2] It was screened in the main competition section of the 74th Venice International Film Festival. [3]



Tomoaki Shigemori is a lawyer tasked with defending a client (Misumi), who faces the death penalty if found guilty, in a murder trial. Misumi has previous convictions for murder and has confessed to the crime, but evidence in the case leads to Shigemori having doubts about what really happened. [4]



Hirokazu Kore-eda was inspired to write a courtroom thriller after conversing with his friend, a lawyer, about the latter's experiences in court. Kore-eda learned that there's a gap between the Japanese people's perception of the court as a space where people aim for the truth, and what it actually is: a space for lawyers "to make adjustments to the conflict [of] interest." Kore-eda based the background of his script on the speculation of "what would happen if a lawyer really started wanting to know the truth?" [5]

During the development process, writing the script was the hardest part for Kore-eda to tackle, due to his unfamiliarity with how lawyers worked in the justice system. He brought together seven lawyers over several months to stage mock trials and mock interviews of a criminal, while he took notes on their language and thought processes. [5]

Besides the subject matter, another departure for Kore-eda was the film's use of the Cinemascope format, which he had not employed in his previous films. [5]


Critical reception

On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, The Third Murder holds an approval rating of 86% based on 80 reviews, with an average rating of 7.05/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "The Third Murder makes satisfying work of its weighty themes, even if it doesn't quite stand with writer-director Hirokazu Koreeda's best efforts." [6] On Metacritic, the film has an average score of 66 out of 100, based on 12 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". [7]

Deborah Young of The Hollywood Reporter gave a positive review of the film, stating that "though different in feeling from the Japanese writer-director's perceptive family tales like After the Storm , it has the same clarity of thought and precision of image as his very best work." [8]


42nd Hochi Film Award Best Supporting ActorKōji YakushoWon
30th Nikkan Sports Film Award Best Film The Third MurderNominated
Best Actor Masaharu FukuyamaNominated
Best Supporting Actor Kōji YakushoWon
Best Supporting Actress Suzu HiroseNominated
72nd Mainichi Film Awards Best Screenplay Hirokazu KoreedaNominated
Best Supporting Actor Kōji YakushoWon
Best Supporting Actress Suzu HiroseNominated
Best Cinematography Mikiya TakimotoNominated
Best Art Direction Yōhei TanedaNominated
Best Music Ludovico EinaudiNominated
60th Blue Ribbon Awards Best Film The Third Murder Nominated
Best Director Hirokazu KoreedaNominated
Best Supporting Actor Kōji YakushoNominated
Best Supporting Actress Yuki SaitoWon
Suzu HiroseNominated
12th Asian Film Awards Best Film The Third MurderNominated
Best Supporting Actress Suzu HiroseNominated
41st Japan Academy Prize Picture of the Year The Third MurderWon
Director of the Year Hirokazu KoreedaWon
Screenplay of the Year Won
Best Film Editing Won
Best Supporting ActorKōji YakushoWon
Best Supporting ActressSuzu HiroseWon
Best MusicLudovico EinaudiNominated
Best CinematographyMikiya TakimotoNominated
Best Lighting DirectionNorikiyo FujiiNominated
Best Sound RecordingKazuhiko TomitaNominated

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  1. "The Third Murder". Box Office Mojo . IMDb . Retrieved 19 November 2017.
  2. "三度目の殺人". Retrieved 21 February 2017.
  3. Anderson, Ariston (27 July 2017). "Venice Competition Includes Films From George Clooney, Guillermo del Toro, Darren Aronofsky". The Hollywood Reporter . Prometheus Global Media . Retrieved 27 July 2017.
  4. Bradshaw, Peter (15 September 2017). "The Third Murder review – death-sentence drama leaves you hanging". The Guardian . Guardian News and Media. Retrieved 6 February 2018.
  5. 1 2 3 Chappell, Ali (21 September 2017). "Interview: Hirokazu Koreeda Talks The Third Murder". CraveOnline Media . Retrieved 19 November 2017.
  6. "The Third Murder (Sandome no satsujin) (2017)". Rotten Tomatoes . Fandango . Retrieved 27 August 2018.
  7. "The Third Murder Reviews". Metacritic . CBS Interactive . Retrieved 19 July 2018.
  8. Young, Deborah (4 September 2017). "'The Third Murder' ('Sandome no satsujin'): Film Review | Venice 2017". The Hollywood Reporter . Prometheus Global Media . Retrieved 19 November 2017.