October 1, 2023

“Once Upon a Crime is an entertaining film that reinvigorates the fairy tale genre by mixing comedy and murder mystery. It makes fun of fairy tale tropes and subverts expectations that you have for this type of story. Kanna Hashimoto shines as this detective version of Little Red Riding Hood.”

Once Upon a Crime is Netflix’s latest Japanese film. This one revisits the classic story of Cinderella and Little Red Riding Hood. It is based on the novel by Aito Aoyagi, which has been nominated for the Japan Booksellers’ Award. The film is now streaming.

STORY

Credit: Netflix

With such a title, I think it’s obvious that this is not your usual fairy tale story. Indeed, this film reinvents what you know about fairy tales. Once Upon a Crime follows Little Red Riding Hood (Kanna Hashimoto) as she takes on the role of a detective to solve a mysterious murder. So, this is a mystery film that also uses fantasy elements with fairy tales and comedy. It takes place in the kingdom where Cinderella (Yuko Araki) lives.

Here, the characters are all different from how they are in the classic story. Little Red Riding Hood is supposed to be naive, here she is the contrary of that. She is intelligent and a brilliant detective. Cinderella is an enigmatic character. Prince Gilbert (Takanori Iwata from the Exile tribe), he isn’t focused on beauty as the rest of his kingdom, he is not a superficial person. Besides, he is already in love of someone who is not Cinderella. And as for the fairy/witch, they are very much a parody of these characters. Barbara (Miki Maya) is this not-evil witch who is not good with shoes. She is the comic relief of the story. I laughed a lot during her scenes, it’s so ridiculous.

This new take on these characters and the mystery genre of the story actually reinvigorate the fairy tale genre. This film brings something new on the table and finds a way to keep the fairy tale story entertaining. This is why it works, it subverts expectations and does something different than usual. Having a murder mystery in the fairy tale world is so compelling, all the more since Little Red Riding Hood is the one doing the detective work! Mystery and comedy are mix of genre you don’t expect to see in a fairy tale story and yet it works. The twist at the end is refreshing and gives you a different ending that you expect with Cinderella. It makes fun of fairy tale tropes in a clever way.

CAST

Credit: Netflix

Moreover, Kanna Hashimoto shines as this detective version of Little Red Riding Hood. We definitely need a sequel with her character solving more murder mysteries! This has to happen! Yuko Araki also delivers a good performance as this new Cinderella. Additionally, there is no better actor to play a prince than an Idol and Takanori Iwata does a wonderful job in this role. And let’s not forget Miki Maya, she is hilarious as Barbara. She is overdoing it which makes the character ridiculous.

VISUALS & SOUNDTRACK

Credit: Netflix

Furthermore, Once Upon a Crime uses the visuals of classic fairy tale stories with an enchanting world. The forest, Cinderella’s house, the castle, it’s all part of the fairy tale language. And the castle is absolutely wonderful. It’s a really big castle that transports you into a different world.

Finally, Sakai Mayuka, Eishi Segawa and Nobuaki Nobusawa have composed a good score that fits the fairy tale genre. SEKAI NO OWARI is performing the theme song ‘Time Machine.’ It’s a nice and melodious song that makes you watch the credits until the end.

VERDICT

Once Upon a Crime is an entertaining film that reinvigorates the fairy tale genre by mixing comedy and murder mystery. It makes fun of fairy tale tropes and subverts expectations that you have for this type of story. Kanna Hashimoto shines as this detective version of Little Red Riding Hood.

Once Upon a Crime is now streaming on Netflix.

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