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 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…
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.
High and Low is an exceptional film: exciting, complex and thoughtful. It is intricate and epic. It transcends its pulp fiction origins to rank alongside Kurosawa’s more revered Samurai films. The central idea is high concept – a villain sets out to kidnap the son of a rich businessman, only to take his chauffeur’s son instead. But the ransom demand is maintained. The kidnapper makes Gondo, the businessman, responsible for the life of a young boy who is not his own. It doesn’t follow the traditional three act set up. It feels Shakespearean in its approach. This gives Kurosawa more scope to develop his themes. It gives the central drama so much more weight than you would expect in a…
Hart Street loft, Brooklyn, New York
This felt like the most delicious multilayered crime-detective cake i have ever tasted... wow! The digestion of the story is slow with great attention to details. And after this amazing slice of cinema, you will looking for more of the same.
For the fans of "The Wire" this is a must watch. This is a must watch, period.
The first hour of set-up is a masterclass in addressing so much information from a kidnapping. Gondo's inflexible choice to sacrifice is morally tested (for a child who isn't in his bloodline, a lost position of the leveraged buyout, his large debts or how the public could perceive a selfish action) while also forming further arcs with those whom are stuck in his "high" heaven of a home. Then, the decision is made, and we jump-start to a thrillingly executed train sequence. Nobody is placed in any perceived danger and it's actually still so intense. Even moreso, a major narrative transition is made to an incisive police-procedural. Gondo is now negated to the thematic "low" as an engrossing step-by-step play…
Ok so I'm gonna have to make this review Short. I will add in the rest tomorrow but in short... this movie is Good. Also the dudes motives are stupid.
Tense and attention-grabbing, even the police procedural parts.
really enjoyed this, although it did feel a bit long at the end. while the premise was a bit absurd (women's shoes? ok...), I really loved the moral conundrum that quickly arises re: the kidnapping. It's kind of weird that Mifune quickly moves away from the focus and largely doesn't drive the movie for the whole second half - but maybe that just goes to show that an amazing storyteller can buck 3-act BS conventions and keep you glued to the screen no matter what.
Stately and low-key procedural directed by Kurosawa, relocating Ed Mccain's 87th precinct to Japan with some success. Visually striking with one beautifully staged scene after the other, the movie does lag at times. (That may be from seeing it with modern eyes, of course, but a contemporary TV procedural would do this plot in 45 minutes with time left over for the leads to flirt.) Mifune is on fine form as the original victim, and the drug house sequence is still strong; I wonder how it was seen in 1963.
The OG movie rave scene. Oh, and blocking ...mmmm blocking.
- The Godfather
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last updated - Sunday, February 1, 2015.
- Citizen Kane
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Number I've Seen: 186/760 (24%)