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Once Upon A Crime: A Review

Once Upon a Crime

Little Red Riding Hood is A Detective?

Once Upon a Crime takes place in a faraway fairytale-like world where everything is more flamboyant than it used to be. Classic characters like Cinderella, evil stepsisters, and Little Red Riding Hood herself appear in the movie. This time Little Red has Sherlock Holmes-like powers of deduction and must solve a murder!

Fairy Tales Mixed With Sherlock Holmes? 

The overall plot of Once Upon a Crime is a fun idea, and it is a way to keep the characters viewed in a fresh light compared to previous iterations. Once Upon a Crime follows Little Red Riding Hood, who befriends Cinderella. Already, it is mixing classic characters and is something not often done. The classic Cinderella tale unfolds but with a surprise twist in the middle of the story. A murder has been committed! Most of the movie is about Little Red Riding Hood using her impressive powers of deduction to catch the murderer. This is not the type of movie that one needs to pay close attention to despite the nature of it. Once Upon a Crime does a great job at keeping the pace quick but lighthearted at the same time. There are no huge stakes for the characters other than the usual love between Cinderella and the prince. Not to say this is a bad thing. High stakes in a movie like this would feel a little out of place unless it was more action-focused, which this is not. It’s based on a fairy tale, so of course it is over the top, which includes the acting of all the talented cast. The over-the-top nature is even more of a vocal point because this seems to be the style of Japanese comedy. Either characters are very lax and give one-line zingers, or they have so over-the-top personalities that they can’t help but make the viewer laugh a bit. This dry type of comedy is a favorite in Japan.

Acting and Lighthearted Fun 

The cast in Once Upon a Crime is filled with actors and actresses who fans of Japanese movies might recognize. Little Red Riding Hood is played by Kanna Hashimoto, who fans might know from other movies like “Kingdom” or “Gintama.” Cinderella is played by Yuko Araki. The prince is played by Takanori Iwata, who is mostly known for playing more bad-boy-type roles, so this was something new for him. The cast is filled with comedians, and most actors have at least one comedy role to their name. Meaning they know how to execute the dialogue well; this is crucial in the Japanese style of comedy. Some comedic characters speak quickly for the comedy aspect to have better timing.

Once Upon a Crime

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While there are many other amazing actors and actresses in the movie, these three carry a majority of the plot. Their performances are great, and they play off one another very naturally. This is to be expected since some have worked together in the past several times. The acting matches the movie. It’s lighthearted and not to be taken so seriously. Kanna Hashimoto keeps the audience engaged with the story since it is a who-done-it type mixed with fairy tale characters. Once Upon a Crime did a great job allowing the audience to make deductions about who the killer was before proving their theory right, shooting it down a few seconds later. Those who watch crime shows will probably catch on quickly, but the journey is still fun.

Aesthetic & Comedy  

Once Upon a Crime has amazing costumes as well. Each character is in an outfit that fits them well. Of course, everyone knows what Little Red Riding Hood will wear most of the time, but the rest of the cast all have great outfits. The middle of the movie is set in a ball, and that is where the audience can see just how grand of a scope the story presents. There are hundreds of people, and each person wears an over-the-top dress or suit, including the king himself.

Comedy is rooted deep in Once Upon a Crime, and despite such great material in the movie, those unfamiliar with the Japanese style of comedy might think it falls short. When it comes to comedy, this is the only spot where it can make or break the movie for some people. If a viewer is not into the Japanese style of comedy, then the entire film will not be enjoyable. On top of that, the movie is originally in Japanese, which means subtitles. Netflix also provides an option to watch it dubbed in English, but honestly, that takes away from the authenticity. Especially when trying to make some jokes work in English versus Japanese, some lines do not land the same. Fans of other Japanese comedies like “Gintama” or” Not Quite Dead Yet” will most likely love this movie because they all bring that same lighthearted and fun energy to them.

Final Rating

Overall, if viewers enjoy Japanese comedies and don’t mind the barriers of the dreaded subtitles, then Once Upon a Crime is a nice little movie to put on while relaxing on the couch. Those unfamiliar with the comedy style of Japan may want to skip this one. Or maybe try it out. There are always exceptions to everyone’s rules. Once Upon a Crime is streaming on Netflix now!

Once Upon a Crime

Once Upon A Crime (2023) Official Netflix Trailer

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