The nail that sticks out gets hammered in.
— Japanese proverb
Some of the best movies are about nothing more than the look on someone’s face. Bashing works like that: in its many moments of deep emotional discomfort, it zooms in on the face of its main character, Yuko Takai (Fusako Urabe) and unblinkingly watches her suffering. Here is a woman who wants nothing more than to work at her job, go to her local convenience store, order a bowl of noodles — in short, do all of the things we take for granted every day that should have no repercussions. She’s not that lucky.
We learn about her a little at a time, much as we learn about anyone. She was a relief worker in Iraq, where she was held hostage for a time and eventually released. On returning home, she was not greeted as a hero or even as a curiosity, but as a pariah. In the very first scenes, she loses her job as a maid in a hotel, all because a co-worker got on the Internet and posted scurrilous things about her. Her boss doesn’t need this sort of hassle, he tells her. Callous bastard, we think. We soon realize he’s one of the less malicious people we’ll see. Read more