Based on the 2012 novel of the same name by Mitsuyo Kakuta, this thriller is flat, lacks character development and is riddled with false notes. Set toward the end of the Bubble era in 1994, former sexy starlet of the time Rie Miyazawa plays Rika, an assiduous and focused forty-something bank employee.
Despite feeling her husband (Seiichi Tanabe) is too wrapped up in work, Rika prides herself on her careful, detail-oriented job performance. After she brilliantly convinces an ornery elderly customer (Renji Ishibashi) to invest in bonds, Rika inexplicably throws herself at his grandson Kota (Sosuke Ikematsu), and starts embezzling millions of yen from her bank to shower him with gifts and five-star hotel stays.
Needless to say, things spiral out of control and the hardly believable ending leaves an even worse aftertaste. In addition to the lack of motivation and abrupt shifts in character, this period piece badly flubs the details. Among other things, Rika is constantly using credit cards in cute little cubby-hole bistros in a time period when charge cards were unused outside of huge hotels in Japan. The work is indeed a pale imitation of a thriller. English title: Pale Moon. (126 min)