Giri/ Haji Review
by D. Adonis
** 2 Stars
The show builds a wall between the audience and itself. There is not one character with which the audience could align themselves, a problem for a show that is already tedious to begin with.
ACTOR(S): Kelly Macdonald, Takehiro Hira, Yosuke Kubozuka, Will Sharpe
SYNOPSIS: Kenzo Mori (Takehiro Hira), a detective in Tokyo, travels to London in search of his younger brother who is accused of an assassination which threatens to set off a war between two Yakuza families.
Giri/Haji (Duty/Shame), an intercontinental BBC and Netflix co-production, shows great potential, however the pilot fails to deliver. The show starts with the two central crime scenes: a murder in London and a drive-by shooting in Tokyo, both of which threatens to start a gang war between two Yakuzo families. Our protagonist, Kenzo Mori (Takehiro Hira), a brooding detective burdened by family worries, travels to London in search of his missing brother Yuto (Yosuke Kubozuka), a mobster accused of being involved in the killings. He teams up with officer DC Sarah Weitzmann (Kelly Macdonald) and a half-Japanese boy Rodney (Will Sharpe).
Giri/Haji is not a typical thriller, not because it is an ambitious, Anglo-Japanese crime drama, but because it is unforgivably dull. A viewer, upon choosing to watch a crime drama, anticipates a rush of emotions at some point in the episode: tension during moments of danger, surprise during key revelations, and intense excitement overall. Giri/Haji leaves all these feelings unpurged. The arty style (black and white flashbacks, an anime sequence, split screen) does nothing to help the boring plot. It only underscores the indecisiveness from which the show suffers. The only redeeming aspect would be Will Sharpe’s scene stealing performance as Rodney, an audacious half-Japanese boy with whom Kenzo teams up to help with his investigation.
Apart from that, the show builds a wall between the audience and itself. There is not one character with which the audience could align themselves, a problem for a show that is already tedious to begin with. Overall, there is not much to say about the first episode of Giri/Haji, as it is not really saying much.
Giri/Haji is currently available on BBC iPlayer and was rated 15 by the BBFC.