It’s not your regular spy espionage. Wife of a Spy is more of a drama that focuses on the relationship between Satoko and Yusaku. It has a very different tone to it. Movie starts in an abstract manner. Slowly it starts to involve you more in the characters. Some people rejected this as boring . But if you sit through the build up then it is going to be a very fresh and satisfying piece of cinema. Kiyoshi Kurosawa is a master storyteller. He knows exactly how to control the pace and set the tone. His movies always work on a psychological level. In Wife of a Spy, we see how a devoted wife of an established businessman finds a greater cause to fight in her life , when she comes to know of her husband’s secrets. Satoko, played by Yû Aoi, is very innocent and carefree. She also works in ameture films shot by her husband. When she finds out everything about her husband’s Manchuria trip. She gets excited and decides to help her husband to expose the disastrous human rights violation made by the Japanese army. Now she has an aim in her life which makes her more alive . In the time of WW2 , where men control everything , she starts to have an illusion that she can control the course of war. In the end she realised , she was only the distraction. She couldn’t digest the fact and ended up in a mental asylum, where she last heard that her husband was seen in Bombay.
Director Kiyoshi Kurosawa beautifully captures the horrors and despair of WW2 by staying as far as he can from the war.The rising nationalism in Japan around that period of time is represented very well through the character of police officer Taiji, who is a childhood friend of Satoko. It captures the psychological impact of war on women (humans). When Satoko wanted the war to get over irrespective of the results, it reflected the horrors that a war brings. Whether you are a winner or loser but the horrors, it left behind will haunt you for decades.
It is easy to reject this film. But in my opinion , Wife of a Spy needs our attention. We used to watch this type of plot in Hitchcock classics . But here we see a new perspective which we are not acquainted with. This fresh and unique take makes it a movie worth watching. From the dream sequence to the breakdown scene on the beach, Kiyoshi Kurosawa proves again that no one can mix genres like him. It is not a ‘Cure’ or ‘Pulse’, but uniquely a standout film that only he can make. The brilliant performances, beautiful cinematography by Tetsunosuke Sasaki and the set design are up to the mark and captivates you . The unpredictable writing and reactions of Satoko’s character will leave an impression on you after the movie ends.