Once the adored maverick director at the head of Japanese cult Cinema, Miike Takashi continues to branch out into other genres and add his little nuances throughout. Case in point, watch the trailer and teaser for his upcoming crime thriller Straw Shield (aka Wara no Tate).
Based on a novel by Kiuchi Kazuhiro, the movie stars Fujiwara Tatsuya as a killer named Kunihide Kiyomaru, who murders the granddaughter of a powerful figure in the political and financial world (Yamazaki Tsutomu). A few months later, Kiyomaru discovers the man has offered a 1 billion yen reward to anyone who manages to kill him. Fearing for his own life, he turns himself in to Fukuoka Prefectural Police.
Five elite Security Police are tasked with escorting Kiyomaru from Fukuoka to Tokyo, but they're repeatedly blocked by citizens and other police looking to collect on the reward and or exact revenge. Meanwhile, a conflict arises when one of the SP officers, Mekari Kazuki (Osawa Takao), begins to doubt if they should even bother protecting a despicable person like Kiyomaru while his partner, Shiraiwa Atsuko (Matsushima Nanako), remains duty-bound.
Straw Shield definitely falls in line with Miike's foray into mainstream Cinema, albeit with a hint of his signature darkness. The film opens in Japan on April 26th. I would say it's a safe bet the film will feature prominently on the festival circuit in the coming year.