Japan is justly praised for its law-abiding citizenry. Drop your wallet on the street here and a kind local is likely to come running after you to return it. On the corporate level, though, scandal follows scandal. One of the most common sights on Japanese news shows is company bigwigs bowing in apology for some misdeed.
Based on a 2012 novel by Jun Ikeido, Katsuo Fukuzawa's "Whistleblower" is the rare Japanese film to take corporate malfeasance as its theme. It is not, however, a Japanese reply to "The Insider," the 1999 film starring Russell Crowe as a beleaguered whistleblower working in the tobacco industry. In contrast to the true-story American film, "Whistleblower" is both total fiction and highly stylized, like a kabuki play in suits and ties. And toward the end a character directly addresses the audience with a message-y speech, a la Charlie Chaplin at the conclusion of "The Great Dictator" (1940).
The film also delivers takes on everything from petty backbiting to the kind of dark conniving familiar from many corporate dramas. And the story turns out to be as black-and-white as a morality play, though the main characters begin it by dissembling their true motives and feelings, as do many of their real-life counterparts. I imagine salarymen seeing the film and nodding knowingly.