Complete list of the films Guillermo del Toro has recommended on twitter. Click the 'Read notes' button to see his…
High and Low
Intense and Highly Entertaining
An executive of a shoe company becomes a victim of extortion when his chauffeur's son is kidnapped and held for ransom.
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…
Complicated history with this one, as the first time I saw it (at a tender age, shortly after starting NYU film school) I jumped to a completely false conclusion about what was going on, then proceeded to construct the foundation for my magnum opus The Ruse using the alternate version I'd imagined. Made it hard for me to see the film for what it is, obviously, and on top of that I think I was simply too green back then not to be thrown by the formal gambit of the slow descent—pretty sure I got all huffy about Mifune's apparent protagonist having been abandoned for what idiotically struck me as rote detective work. What can I say, I was…
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.
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…
Mind completely blown.
Never has a film further exceeded my expectations.
I fucking love this.
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'd rather be told the cruel truth than be fed gentle lies."
All of the Kurosawa films I's seen up until this point were period pieces. They films were uniformly excellent, but the trappings and customs of another country's history added a layer of separation between myself and Kurosawa's flawed, incredibly-realized characters. High and Low is the first of his films set in the present day that I've had the pleasure of seeing, and I found it incredibly visceral and moving.
The film's structure is unusual, starting as a tense chamber-drama confined to a single set, before morphing into an expansive police procedural for its second and third acts. Toshiro Mifune employs the same incredible acting chops he showed in…
On this viewing, I was struck by how well the story and characters inform the visuals. The framing that Kurosawa uses has this way of emphasising certain elements or pointing out certain things to you before they happen but in a very special kind of way. To me, Kurosawa's up there with the masters of the silent era when it comes to displaying remarkable visual prowess.
I sincerely don't understand how anyone could ever make the claim that Kurosawa's samurai films are better than his modern era films.
Akira Kurosawa and the art of movement in cinema. You can find something beautiful to look at in every frame, which usually feature large groups of people who band together, or split apart. When you put that many people in a shot, every emotion feels so big.
Intriguing story that goes from a recluse thriller to a police drama in such a natural way. A true masterpiece of movie-making
Upon viewing 1963's High and Low I can say that my first exposure to a non-samurai orientated Kurosawa film certainly did not disappoint. It still contained all of the drama, fully formed characters and excellent camera work of his period films while at the same time gave some insight into cultural attitudes and practices of then-modern Japan.
To me, High and Low can be thought of as two movies. The first portion is a morality play of sorts. Where the executive Gondo, played by the charismatic Kurosawa talisman Toshiro Mifune, struggles with choosing between preserving himself and his own ambitions or giving up everything to save his employee's abducted child. The second portion of the film is a quasi-thriller, police procedural right out of 1950's American film noir.
Despite its nearly 3 hour running time, High and Low captures your attention to the very end. It is a masterful film from one of the all time greats.
A slow sturdy crime procedural from the master Akira Turosawa, with an excellent performance from his muse Toshiro Mifune .
To be reviewed on Episode 14 of Let's Take Five...
Of the three Akira Kurosawa films that I have seen, this seems to be the most rigorous with the camera and with staging. Characters are positioned around the frame not to promote realism but to emphasize the psychological distance (or lack thereof) between them. People might be seated at fairly random places in the room, but the camera puts them across the screen from each other. By using the depth of the space for similar purposes, it also increases some sense of disorientation: though spatial relations are brought more to our attention, they are also abstracted, heightening the sense of confusion that comes from the mystery/procedural narrative.
capolavoro sena mezzi termini, dove tutto è perfetto: regia (raccordi e controcampi magnifici), fotografia (la struttura su più livelli dell'immagine è sempre sorprendente), luci, costruzione, gestione dei tempi. Un poliziesco costruito come un ingranaggio impeccabile e con un nichilismo di fondo che colpisce ancora oggi (grazie anche a un finale brusco e disperato). Standing ovation
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