Starfish Hotel (2006) Movie Script

Are you awake?
I had a nightmare.
It's those damned books of yours.
See you later.
See you.
Out soon! Jo Kuroda's latest mystery.
A light, I said.
Lost my lighter.
You think this writer's any good?
Have to wear this fucking
costume to advertise it.
"Mr. Trickster"?
Load of crap if you ask me.
You work near here?
Yes, actually.
You're dressed for the part in that suit.
Civil servant? Nice house, nice wife,
kids in a good schooI I bet.
Well, we don't have any chiIdren.
You've got "pen-pusher" written
all over you.
Course, I used to have
a properjob before.
A wife and kid too, before
it all went down the shitter.
Now my daughter's whoring - at 19!
Makes you Iaugh, eh?
At least this hairy suit's
kept me off the streets.
Not that there's much difference.
Maybe the "Darkland" is all around us.
What do you think, pen-pusher?
You'll ruin your eyes working
in the dark.
What is it? A game?
My new client's buiIding.
Looks like a maze.
It's the concept - Iabyrinths and mazes.
What's the project?
A club.
What kind?
A risque one.
Sounds dodgy.
It's supposed to be "stimulating"
for couples.
I've got an invite after
it's all finished.
I wonder if I should go...
Don't talk rubbish...
Give me...the key...
I can't...
Open it...
Open what?
Broken contract...
Are you awake?
These too, pIease.
I'm back.
...four bodies were recovered
from the burnt-out house.
The bodies are believed to be those
of Mr. Nakajima, the owner,
his wife, Mariko, and
Mr. Nakajima's parents.
Police are investigating a link
between this fire...
...and 2 other recent arson cases
in Tokyo's Setagaya ward.
And that's the news for this evening.
Next we have an interview
with author Jo Kuroda.
Today I'm visiting a hotel
in the mountains of Tohoku...
...owned by Iwaki Publishing.
The hotel is often used by writers.
Also here today is the popular
mystery author Jo Kuroda.
Tell us a bit about your new book,
but don't give too much away!
Well, it doesn't stray far from
the themes in my other books.
So we can expect an appearance
from "Mr. Trickster"?
You certainIy can.
And will the mystery of "DarkIand"
become any clearer?
I think that'll be up to the reader.
How does the story begin this time?
As always, it starts with
the disappearance of a woman...
Chisato! Open the door!
Hello, Kimura Architecture.
Hello, is Chisato Arisu there?
May I ask who's calling?
This is her husband.
I see - please hold the line.
I'm sorry. Chisato didn't come
into work today.
Thank you.
A train at night...a silent hospital.
A deserted park...a railway siding.
Common or garden, nondescript places.
Ambiguous, forgotten spaces.
Perfect for the purpose of writing.
I wouldn't know where to begin...
Everyone has a story to tell.
Once upon a time...
No, it wasn't once upon a time...
It was...
Two years ago...
Good evening.
I'm Arisu - I booked last week.
Very good, sir.
"NecropoIis" by Jo Kuroda
Strange, isn't it.
When I read his books I get drawn
into his world.
Do you like Jo Kuroda's books?
I like the way they're a little twisted.
I can read them over and over.
Are you a mystery geek?
I'm not sure what constitutes a geek.
Well, maybe not a geek...
But a little twisted...
a touch warped, perhaps?
A woman disappears...
the story has begun.
There is more than one riddle...
One is "Where did she go?"
The other is "Why did she disappear?"
You have to retrace your steps
to find what you've Iost.
What are you chasing?
It's like when a hunter is
stalking an animal.
The forest is dark and still...
Sooner or later the hunter
begins to realize...
That he is no longer the hunter...
he is the prey...
My parents died when I was young.
My uncle raised me...
He left me some land in his will
but I don't want it.
I don't want to stay here.
People in your line of work
must be meticulous.
I wonder...
Meticulous - that's
why you like mysteries.
You wanted to be a writer.
Am I right?
Why did you give up?
I had no imagination.
I can't believe that.
What kind of place do you think
the "Darkland" is?
I sometimes see a place like
that in my dreams.
In dreams...?
Awful dreams -
when I'm there, I'm dead.
And everyone from this world is
there in the "Darkland".
There's no one left in this world -
no one at all.
I hope I can sleep.
I might have a nightmare -
I can't get that book off my mind.
If I scream, will you come to me?
I haven't screamed yet.
Three days ago, you say?
Yes, and she hasn't contacted her
parents or her sister either.
I asked some of her friends too, but...
What about work?
Of course - she works in
an architect's office.
But she hasn't been there either.
Has this ever happened before?
It's the first time I've not been
able to contact her.
Ninety percent of these cases are
because of domestic problems...
Caller unknown.
Do you remember me?
Can we meet at that hotel?
It's short notice.
I can't.
Do you feel like going
somewhere tomorrow?
It's supposed to be fine.
I have to go to Tohoku
on business again.
I thought you'd finished that.
Something came up - I have to go.
Can't it wait until Monday?
They keep changing the schedule.
I have to follow it to the letter.
Your company is so backward.
And you're just another cog
in the machine.
I dreamt about you.
We were naked...
In the forest...
It's just starting, isn't it?
The first meeting is just the beginning.
The second time,
the story starts to unfold.
You like mysteries, don't you?
Mori Private Investigator
Mori Private Investigator
So, what can I do for you, Mr. Arisu?
I found your card at home.
Really? Can I have a look?
So it is.
Why did my wife come here?
I'm afraid I'm not at
liberty to answer that.
Private detectives have to respect
the privacy of their clients.
I could go to the police and say
I found your card in her bag.
There's no need for that.
At the risk of being rude, why do you
think your wife came here?
Maybe you already know...
What's that supposed to mean?
You seem convinced that
your wife was here.
When a wife visits a private detective...
What do you think is the usual reason?
What would you do if I had an affair?
A designer at work is having one.
But her husband doesn't seem to care.
I wouldn't stand for it.
But would you forgive me?
No, I wouldn't.
She says her lover's touch
sets her on fire.
Something she doesn't feel
with her husband.
Is that what it's like?
I would kill you...
That's a bit harsh!
I'm not used to doing this.
I need you.
I have to see you.
So, why can't we meet in Tokyo?
I don't want it to be too easy.
Don't you think it's better like this?
It's like being in a dream.
And afterwards we can return
to the real world.
I don't see it that way.
We both have to be careful...
Maybe I have to be more
careful than you.
Mr. Civil Servant!
Get lost.
Not been your lucky day, has it?
The little woman's run off
and left you, eh?
How did you...?
I know all your secrets.
Since I started wearing this
rabbit suit I can hear things.
Little voice in my head, coming from
far away, telling me stuff.
You should see a doctor.
You can talk! Don't turn your back
on people trying to help you.
I can tell you where to find what
you're looking for - look!
Wonderland- The Sexy Fantasy Zone!
I'm not interested.
Don't be so high and mighty,
Everybody's looking for
the same thing.
It's members only.
Chisato invited me.
No such person here.
Look! This is her!
Only members can get in.
How can I...?
You shouldn't be here.
I'm looking for somebody.
Who? Go back to your room.
Do you know Chisato?
Chisato? Never heard of her.
Look, this is her picture -
I've come to pick her up.
Who are you?
I'm her husband.
I don't know.
If you hear anything...
(Speaks Chinese)
What? You can reach me
at this number.
(Speaks Chinese)
Try to call me and I'll make
it worth your while.
Stop it!
They toId me not to say anything.
Look, I'll pay you okay?
I heard she got beaten up.
Beaten up...?
Knocked about by a trick.
Look, don't ask me any more.
What do you mean, "beaten up"?
I don't know anything.
I don't know!
Who hit her?
I thought you weren't coming.
I nearly didn't.
Not here.
Are you Yuichi Arisu?
Did you find out anything
about my wife?
Can we come in? We have some
questions we need to ask.
It looks like someone burnt down
the WonderIland Club, Mr. Arisu.
They recovered three bodies
from the place...
But there was no way to
identify the remains.
One Chinese woman just
managed to get away.
According to her, someone broke
into the cIub and started a fight.
Mr. Arisu, your phone number
was in her wallet.
The poor girl died this morning.
Identification is going to be
extremely difficult.
It might be impossible.
Could my wife be one of them?
Do you have a recent photo
of your wife, Mr. Arisu?
Something still doesn't add up...
A world taken too much for granted.
people think they can be happy being
cogs in a machine like you.
Unable to see what they should see...
Unable to see what they have lost...
And among all the things they have lost...
Their most important possession.
His stories are like fairy taIes:
always the same pattern.
Children love hearing the same story
time and time again.
They're like children's picture books.
You can't compare them like that.
Now I see what turns you on.
I bet I could write something like this.
"He lay down and reached
for her hand..."
"She brushed his neck with
her right hand..."
"Then her white fingers slipped
inside the collar of his shirt..."
"A look of ecstasy..."
Caller unknown
"A look of ecstasy crossed her face
as she yielded to his thrust..."
shouldn't you get it?
When you sleep with your wife...
Do you ever think of me?
I bet you do.
Cut it out.
Does it excite you?
Do you get all mixed up inside?
Am I in the bed as well?
I've never asked about who you see.
It's best not to.
Why not?
You never talk about your wife either.
It's better this way - we can keep
our two worlds separate.
If we don't, we'll get confused.
I can't go on lying.
It isn't the same as a lie.
As long as you keep
the two worlds apart...
The Tokyo "you" and the "you" here
are different people.
There's no need to lie.
My daughter...
Did she work here as well?
She was only nineteen.
It's not safe in here -
Iet's go outside.
It's nice here - it's just
the place for a rabbit.
Was it you?
Did you start the fire?
Have to go back to the Darkland.
These aren't my hands.
No, they're not my hands.
What's wrong?
Did you hurt your hands?
Do you know whose hands these are?
They're not mine.
Not my hands.
Not mine!
Are you awake?
Did you find my wife?
One of the bodies was a
twenty-year-old Japanese woman.
The others were all foreign nationals.
Mr. Arisu, just how much
did you know about your wife?
What do you mean?
Well, let's suppose she had been
working in that club.
When do you think she started?
I don't know -
I got a flyer from that man.
The one in the rabbit suit?
Mr. Arisu, four people have died.
Somebody took two cans of petrol to
the place and torched it.
This is a murder investigation.
you can't think it was me?
I like writing in hospitals at night.
I can sense death close by.
But death is never far away.
It exists within us.
It is as banal as the shadows
of trees in a park.
But we don't see it.
Because we choose not to.
OnIy those who lose a loved one...
Can sense death's shadow
passing through them.
We can feel the presence
of death in this world.
Death is the only reallty -
all the rest is a dream.
There was a disused mine behind
my uncle's property.
I was told never to go there.
I used to sneak inside
when my uncle went out.
I used to stay there for hours
in the darkness.
Imagining all sorts of things.
Weren't you scared?
Not at all.
It was safer than the world outside.
Don't move.
I'll show you what it was
like in the mine.
If you stay still long enough
in the darkness...
You start to imagine
all kinds of things.
You can be anything you want to be.
You can go anywhere you want to go.
I was in the area -
thought I'd drop by.
How did you get in?
Oh! Very nice -
I'll have some of that.
Who the hell are you?
Nice place you've got -
very classy.
How did you find my address?
Mr. Trickster told me.
What do you think you're doing?
So, you like mysteries?
Get out.
I know who can find your missus.
I'm calling the police.
They're useless: idiots,
every one of them.
You need a good detective.
I've used one before.
Got him to check up on my missus.
He was top notch - solved
the mystery good and proper.
Showed me photographic
evidence as well.
Put that down.
Put the knife down.
What fucking knife?
When I saw the photos I knew.
The camera never lies, as they say.
all her dirty secrets, plain as day.
Thanks for the trip down memory lane -
and thanks for the drink.
HoId on!
I'd think about hiring him -
he'll find what you're looking for.
Mori Private Investigator
people are in and out of
this job all the time.
They come and go as they please,
just like me.
Two years ago there was
an older man, a bit tubby...
Oh, I know who you mean.
He's dead, or so I heard.
About a month ago,
and pretty suddenly, too.
Anyway, I don't really know -
I'm just a temp.
I'm looking for this woman.
Are you a cop or something?
So, what about this woman?
She's my friend.
What kind of "friend"?
An old friend.
Oh yes?
Very pretty hair.
The Tokyo "you" and the "you" here
are different people.
There's no need to lie.
That's a pretty twisted solution.
That's why you like me.
I don't even know you.
It's better not to know,
otherwise it wouldn't be a mystery.
I'm sick to death of mysteries.
If you knew the truth about me...
You wouldn't like me.
Police suspect YUICHI ARISU
of arson & murder.
Jo Kuroda's book launch party is
taking place right here today.
It's his 21st novel since
he won the Naoki Prize.
The story is still a closely
guarded secret.
But one thing we do know is the title.
Here it is, and it's just
as strange as his other titles.
It's "Starfish Hotel".
Excuse me.
Pardon me.
Excuse me.
I'm sorry.
Chisato? Wake up, Chisato!
It's all right, it's me.
I feel awful.
How did you get here?
I don't know.
Is it you?
I dreamt I was having sex.
That's it, then. Nearly over now.
I'll call the poIice.
AIready did that.
Long ago there was a man -
a normal, unimportant little man.
But the man had a dark,
dirty little secret in his past.
He fucked another woman, and
of course he didn't tell his wife.
But his wife hired a detective who
showed her the filthy evidence.
So she worked in a brothel
to spite him.
The man burned down the brothel,
killed the detective...
And killed his wife to boot -
wasn't that a nice story?
No! That's not how it happened.
Are you sure?
Here's the proof.
You see?
Now do you believe me?
Tired now - so tired.
Mr. Trickster has finished
his work at Iast.
I want to go home,
back to the Darkland.
Hang on! That's not
what you promised.
You said I couId go home.
No! I don't want to kill her.
He can do it.
Look at all the blood on my hands!
What are you doing here?
Did you do the missus in?
Your cute little wife?
And I thought you were
more pathetic than me.
I want to go home now.
I haven't got a home to go to.
It's gone now.
What is it that I'm supposed
to have done to you?
You a dumb fuck, or what?
It's just a stupid story.
Everything's pitch-black.
But you soon get used to it.
Then you can start
running underground.
Running around in circles,
on and on and on...
Take no notice of me.
It's the voice...
The voice made me do it.
What voice?
The voice.
This story's too sick for Mr. Trickster.
Give me the knife.
Give it to me.
Do all roads lead to the Darkland?
I'll change the ending for you.
Is this the man you met in the park?
Is he dead?
Your wife confirms that
he kidnapped her.
Please can I see my wife?
Don't worry - you can see her soon.
She's feeling a lot better.
Since he lost his job he's been in
and out of psychiatric wards.
It brings us full circle -
I think the case is closed.
It's all cut and dried,
just the way we like it.
I'm reading a mystery novel at
the moment, too. It's great.
But I think it only
scratches the surface.
Real mystery and real darkness lie
in the human soul.
Once you enter that deep, dark forest,
you can never escape.
At least, that's my opinion.
Before all this...
I was going to leave you.
I could smell her on you sometimes.
Why didn't you say anything?
I didn't want to know...
Didn't want to become a wife
haIf crazed by jealousy.
I don't know what was wrong with me -
it won't happen again.
You seemed so distant.
When it was all over...
You were even more distant.
Let's try again - make a fresh start.
I couldn't bear to lose you again.
We'll take it slowly...
She ran away to Tokyo when
she was seventeen.
She wanted to erase the disgusting
memories of her uncle.
The big city, where she was
just another nameIess soul.
Everywhere she went there was
aIways some man.
There were ample opportunities
for a young girl to make money.
No past to trouble her.
She realized that in the darkness
she couId be anything she liked.
It was in one of those dark places
that I met her.
For some reason I didn't think
she belonged in that world.
I wanted to help her.
I rented an apartment for her,
and paid off her debts.
I thought that she was happy.
When her uncle died she went home
for the first time in years.
And that's when she began to change.
At first I had no idea what was wrong.
But I could feel her slowly
slipping away from me.
When I finally realized the truth,
it scared me.
I wanted you to know what it was
like to lose someone too.
So, where is she now?
You were never supposed to
find out anything.
But Mr. Trickster betrayed me.
And the plan was ruined.
Where is she?
After you left her she vanished -
just disappeared.
I searched for weeks.
I thought that you might know
where she was, but you didn't.
I went to her uncle's house.
Some of her things were still there.
Then it suddenly hit me:
she must be down the old mine.
Where she used to go as a child.
She was at the end of a dark tunnel -
she had taken some pills.
She's still there.
I did not have the heart to move her.'s me...
I want to see you. last time...
I'm waiting.
At the usual place.
Are you sure she hasn't missed her
train or something?
Looks like it...
You're married, aren't you?
Is it worth the risk of
Iosing your wife?
Perhaps it's better if
she doesn't turn up.
That would give you a chance
to start afresh.
Stop being so serious.
Nobody's perfect -
we all make mistakes.
If you stay still long enough
in the darkness...
You start to imagine things.
You can be anything you want to be.
You can go anywhere you want to go.