Yet another year with yet another update.
2012 version can be found here.
2013 version can be found here.
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…
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.
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…
Mind completely blown.
Never has a film further exceeded my expectations.
I fucking love this.
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…
Film number ten in The Kurosawa Spree!
Kurosawa's High and Low is a spectacle of many great components coming together to create one of the director's best films. What starts out as a film looking like it will focus purely on bureaucratic endeavors gradually shifts into something far more complex and multifaceted. High and Low becomes a character study, analyzing the value of self versus other and looking at a person's priorities in a situation of great duress. During this phase the film is tense and engrossing, demanding attention, and making the viewer wish for the success of the focal character, while knowing he ultimately has no choice but to pay the ransom, or risk looking like a villain in…
This is my third Kurosawa film after Seven Samurai and Yojimbo, and I'm happy to see that he didn't need any Samurai to make a great film.
Toshiro Mifune plays Kingo Gondo, a top executive at the National Shoes shoe company. He's been working for the company since he was 13 years-old and is now highly successful and married, with a young son. The other executives are plotting to displace the current head and take over the company themselves. After Gondo refuses to join them, he sets in motion a series of events that no-one saw coming, and he will have to make a decision that no decent person should ever have to make.
Freedom of choice is a nice…
Tense and well crafted thriller by Kurosawa-tells the story of a business man amidst career change who faces a kidnapper who took his driver's son and is demanding a high ransom.
Builds each scene carefully and is stylishly directed throughout. What could be a standard kidnapping film takes a step towards art thanks to the immeasurable talents of it's director.
Toshiro Mifune does well as the lead character.
Cold and brutal ending continues to reexamine the themes from Crime and Punishment.
What makes a masterpiece?
Is it a movie where the individual film-making techniques within are masterclass, is it a film that elicits en emotional response like no other film, or could it just be a film that does something better then any other? I ask this because I throw this word around a lot in my reviews, which comes as a symptom of choosing almost exclusively to review 5-star films. But High and Low is truly a masterpiece of film-making, masterclass in every aspect within, which is not a surprise though coming from Akira Kurosawa.
High and Low is about the kidnapping of shoe company exec Kingo Gondo's chauffeur's son, and Gondo's following extortion. At the same time Gondo had…
Daily reminder this is Kurosawa's best film
How has this film not been remade in the post financial meltdown era? So many moments that this film should have lost me (the long police meeting, the longer tailing-the-suspect scene, but dang if it wasn't intense almost from the get-go.
Toshiro Mifune forever!
Krimidrama nach Ed McBain, der von der Struktur im ersten Teil auch ein wenig an "Ransom!" (1956, mit Glenn Ford) erinnert. Im zweiten Teil dann nicht mehr wie ein Bühnenstück inszeniert, sondern mit Gewicht auf mehr Tempo (und gelegentlichem Witz). Moralisch teils ein wenig fragwürdig (Verhalten der Polizei, als die ihre Falle stellt), aber spannend und mit gutem Schuß Zeitkolorit.
Unfortunately, that which finally made me crack open the Criterion DVD I got of this months ago was the Dissolve closing. My viewing ended up as a tribute, and a commencement of an era without a cinematic guide other than my own intuition. I didn't even realize it was once a Movie of the Week. Great minds think alike, I suppose.
RIP The Dissolve. Too Good to Last.
The entire Criterion collection organized by spine number.
I don't know why I did this.
Number I've Seen: 194/776 (25%)