The Journalist (2022) review: Good premise falls short

Rating 2.5/5

In ‘The Journalist’, Anna Matsuda is a seasoned investigative journalist who is unyielding a controversy involving public land being sold at a subsidized rate. It is quickly revealed that the country’s Prime Minister and his wife are involved.

Story

A mistake in paperwork connected to the foundation of an unlawful project, the Eishin Academy, is discovered by Anna Matsuda (Ryôko Yonekura), a Totou newspaper reporter.

After attempting to expose the company and its CEO, Mr. Toyoda, for embezzling 10 billion yen from the government, her brother, a whistle-blower, goes comatose.

Another scandal surfaces, exposing the government’s corruption, while she seeks to bring him to justice. The Prime Minister and his wife work for a private company that has land subsidiaries.

During these developments, Suzuki Kazuya (Hidetaka Yoshioka), an employee with a strong moral compass, tries to do the right thing. He is in charge of this, and he realises that it is unethical, so he documents the entire thing.

As a result of the stress of the situation, he commits suicide, while everyone else is forced to shoulder the majority of the guilt. His wife, Mayumi (Shinobu Terajima), who is seeking justice, gives Matsuda the information he acquired.

Shinichi Murakami (Go Ayano), a key witness in the scandal and the former secretary of the Prime Minister’s wife, agrees to testify after realising that he became a bureaucrat to serve people and not to con them.

She is eventually successful in bringing the Eishin Academy scandal to light, which leads to a court case, with the support of Ryo Kinoshita (Ryûsei Yokohama) and Mrs. Mayumi.

Performances

Ryôko Yonekura plays the fascinating lead, Anna Matsuda, who creates an intriguing portrait of a woman who has given up all in her life in pursuit of truth and justice.

Go Ayano in the role of Shinichi Murakami allows him to add depth to the character and also allows the actor to present a serious side to himself.

The portrayal of Suzuki Kazuya by Hidetaka Yoshioka falls short of what could have been a great performance.

Shinobu Terajima as Mrs. Mayumi portrays a widow whose baffled vulnerability gives way to determination in a calm, dignified performance.

However, Ryûsei Yokohama as Ryo Kinoshita stands out with an excellent outing.

Positives

Perhaps, the most intriguing thing about ‘The Journalist’ is how the character development of Ryo, a university student is included in the story.

However, an unexpected personal link to the Eishin Academy case, and in especially Matsuda’s reporting, piques his curiosity.

The web series never loses sight of its fundamental message as the plot twists and turns.

Negatives

Many of the characters are little more than clichés, with a single comprehensive viewpoint that is tested in predictable ways.

Unfortunately, Matsuda, who we learn practically little about as a human being throughout the course of the web series, is the most vulnerable victim of this packed narrative.

Worth it?

‘The Journalist’ is worth a watch for those interested in politics and corruption as it is very unfortunately still relevant.


Also Read: The Tender Bar (2021) review: Inconsistent but delivers