The great cinematography, the classical music soundtrack, the elegant, fancy hotel surroundings and the at times overly colorful characters give the movie an almost Disney-like, larger than life feel.
It really draws you in right away. The plot begins to unfold in a slightly convoluted, but intriguing way. But then the murder mystery takes a backseat and instead we get an insight behind the curtains of the hotel business, which reveals the archetypal japanese perfectionism and deep, almost religious dedication to the work and the customer service.
While sometimes over the top, this is quite fascinating and the police officer and the female receptionist have really great chemistry as they join forces and exchange their totally different approaches and mindsets. But too much of the murder story happens off screen and is only told verbally by the protagonists, there are too many suspects and victims that are only ever talked about and never shown and it becomes rather hard to follow. And ultimately the conclusion, after the movie spins this huge, complex web of motives and potential murderers, is quite a let down.
However, I still enjoyed watching it, simply because of the great atmosphere, the charming hotel subplot and the nice characters.
Review by mister_bateman