last updated - Sunday, February 1, 2015.
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High and Low
Toshiro Mifune is unforgettable as Kingo Gondo, a wealthy industrialist whose family becomes the target of a cold-blooded kidnapper in Akira Kurosawa's highly influential High and Low. Adapting Ed McBain's detective Novel King's Ransom, Kurosawa moves effortlessly from compelling race-against-time thriller to exacting social commentary, creating a penetrating portrait of contempory Japanese society.
Leave it to Kurosawa to make an hour of listing evidence and clues exciting.
High and Low is tight, tense, and engaging, but what makes it so great for me is that Kurosawa (based on the book King's Ransom by Ed McBain) uses an almost Dante-like structuring of the three points of view by which this story is told. Each act is a discrete and self-contained plot with its own beginning, middle, and end, which make High and Low more of a crime anthology than an epic. Still, all the main characters appear (physically or vocally) in all three stories, tying them together and leaving room for an epilogue which unites the circuitous narrative. In addition, the class-warfare analogies really…
Story : 8.8/10
Production : 8.3/10
Overall : 8.03/10
I find it extremely interesting that a film called High and Low (and one that so beautifully captures the symbolism behind those two words) would be filmed in such a unique aspect ratio. The choice to use 2.35 : 1 shows off a lot of things easily but none of them are high or low. Also, I haven't familiarized myself with this "Tohoscope" process yet but it certainly added an interesting element to the entire film.
Another thing I found engrossing was the way Akira Kurosawa switched his protagonists throughout the film. In the opening act we're seeing the world through the eyes of King Gondo, played wonderfully by…
I'm too sleepy to go into all the myriad reasons this is one of the greatest movies of all time. Kurosawa's filmmaking is so transcendent it seems weak to say it's "ahead of its time," and yet that's exactly what it is in scenes like the final one, with both characters being alternately seen through their reflections, sharing the same space, never really separate. The claustrophobic and almost unbearably tense first act, the incredibly immediate train sequence, the detailed and gripping investigation, the slow descent into the expressionistic and heartbreaking "hell" of the city's poor neighborhoods, the pink smoke...! I know he made more masterpieces than practically anybody else but why this isn't widely considered Kurosawa's best I haven't a clue.
Film #9 of Florin's Recommendations
”I want the truth!”
Here we are. The grandfather of Zodiac and Prisoners, a gripping thriller that goes beyond the typical detective story and studies the darkest and most hideous aspects of mankind’s soul, Akira Kurosawa’s High and Low is an intense and perfectly executed mystery film that showcases the Japanese master’s skills in creating entertaining, thought-provoking and incredibly touching dramas which focus on mankind’s desires, sufferings and his challenges with the world in which he is living in.
High and Low has two parts, in the first 45 minutes the film takes place in a room and Kurosawa never leaves the claustrophobic “heaven” of Gondo, those are my favorite parts of the film, you…
I bought this movie not even really knowing what it was about. All I knew for sure was that it was directed by Akira Kurosawa and it starred Toshirô Mifune and Tatsuya Nakadai. That is all I needed to know to want to own this movie even though it was apparent it had nothing to do with samurai.
The film itself amazed me. The way each scene is structured, framed and acted out I found incredible. There is no actor wasted at any given moment in this film. You can tell what each one is thinking, feeling or even what their social class is with no words spoken. It's not always by facial expression either, just by the way their sitting, standing or who they won't look directly at.
Simply put it's one of those great films everyone needs to see at least once. A film you just sit there and appreciate how each moment was put together.
I was quite excited to see this film, given the love for it from trusted friends, but when I realized that it was a crime film, and very much a police procedural, my heart sank a little. I love those types of films, but there are so many of them and I am so used to them that I couldn't imagine being blown away by one, even if it was from Kurosawa.
Remind me never to underestimate the Master again.
He tells the very simple story of a kidnapping.
If that's all you want, you are going to get one of the best police procedurals including one of the best scenes ever filmed where detectives provide their updates on the…
High and Low - 9.5/10
A brilliant tense thriller that rivals (and vanquishes) Die Hard. Although of course it's vastly different.
High and Low straddles the line between excellent procedural and psychodrama. It boasts amazing performances from Mifune and Nakadai, and superior direction that Kurosawa proves again and again.
The movie instantly grabs you, and keeps you there with suspense as we observe a glorious cat-and-mouse chase, while also examining the "Highs and Lows".
While not in extraordinary depth, High and Low examines just that...It's poverty vs riches. We get a good look at modern day Japan and the drug addicts and poverty that go with it, and the resentment some may feel towards the very rich. And in the…
How is a 2 1/2 hour 50-year old Japanese movie really gonna entertain me?
- Me before the film
Oh, that's how.
-Me after the film
This is one of those flicks where the reputation had been so built up that I just naturally assumed it would let me down. I definitely had a 'okay, let's buckle up and do this' feeling as I hit play, but once it started, even the though it was about shoes, I was still already entertained.
Police procedural genre at its best.
Oddly paced but, it's a really great noir tribute.
This may have officially become my favorite Kurosawa film. I love you "Seven Samurai", but "High and Low" has so much tension and intrigue that I couldn't help but keep my eyes affixed to the TV for the entire two and a half hour run time. Toshiro Mifune almost goes by unnoticed, not because he is so forgettable, but because he blends in so well that I didn't even realize that I was watching him for the first half of the film. He was that convincing.
This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Quite the slow burner, but it's worth it. Great performances and suspense make this Kurosawa crime thriller a must see for any movie fan.
Dileri heroina u Japanu šezdesetih su se oblačili ko pederi...
I wish I was more into this! I love Kurosawa and I love Mifune but I dunno, it was very detective heavy and not very thriller heavy for me. Maybe I was watching it in the wrong frame of mind.
last updated - Sunday, February 1, 2015.
The entire Criterion collection organized by spine number.
I don't know why I did this.
Number I've Seen: 189/764 (25%)