Golden Slumber

What do the Beatles, a serial killer and a gentle soul have in common? 'Golden Slumber' takes inspiration from the Beatles song that appeared on their last album, 'Abbey Road.' The Japanese-language film begins in a very calm manner, as a family shops in a mall and two old college friends reunite. The two old friends, Aoyagi and Morita, have a pleasant chat before Aoyagi falls asleep in his friend's car. When he wakes up, Morita begins spinning a tale of paranoid conspiracy that sounds very far-fetched ... until the Japanese prime minister's car explodes nearby and Aoyagi is immediately suspected. Shocked, Aoyagi goes on the run.

Under the expert direction of Yoshihiro Nakamura, 'Golden Slumber' smoothly veers from political thriller to human drama to family comedy and then back again. Just when you think you have the movie pegged -- it's a Hitchcock 'Wrong Man' scenario -- it morphs into something else entirely. Nakamura, who made the amazing 'Fish Story,' a word of mouth hit at Fantastic Fest last year, isn't afraid of naked emotionalism. Yet even when the movie's heart is on its sleeve, it never feels contrived; Nakamura reins in the melodrama in a captivating, compelling manner. This is a movie that deserves wider notice.