This is how I would introduce a newcomer to foreign classics, from most accessible to least accessible. I'm still a…
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.
Would you give up your fortune to save a boy’s life?
Kurosawa perfects his brand of hero in High and Low. Always put in positions where honorable and virtuous choices are difficult to make because of one’s position, status and lifestyle. A test of morals. His big-hearted humanistic tendencies insure these characters always have a proper and good outlook. High and Low is however, consequently isolated from themes that he has pushed even harder in the past. Not muted just a grand exploration touching upon each note of Kurosawa’s moving orchestra. Densely plotted and detailed.
I’m sure everyone at one point or another has watched Criminal Minds, CSI, Law and Order. Maybe you watched Criminal Minds a lot like I…
Mind completely blown.
Never has a film further exceeded my expectations.
I fucking love this.
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…
It's been a little over a week since I watched this. I keep mulling over the title. Is high and low the relative position of people's houses? a nudge of extra class consciousness? the relative morality of the Gondo versus the other shoe executives? something else entirely? ...sometimes I think too much.
It felt like two very different movies squished together in an unexpected yet pleasant way, kind of like a peanut butter and pickle sandwich. I was a bit distracted at times by wondering what Japanese police procedure is like, how the justice system works there. I read a fair quantity of police procedural mysteries set in the US, and it seemed like they should've detained the other shoe…
Another Kurosawa off the list.
Crime drama, cat and mouse detective story, psychological thriller, social commentary. Kurosawa mixes all of these genres seamlessly. Viewed as a one act play for the first half and police procedural for the second. Perfectly framed shots, you get a perspective of every character in the room even if they’re awkwardly staring at their shoes while two other characters hold a heated argument behind them. Kurosawa never fails to put forth something interesting.
Why didn't I watch this earlier
learned some valuable creeping skills with this one. find out how here
This movie is amazing, and I talk all about why in the new episode of Criterion Creeps, which is right here!
This movie is great, the only thing that keeps it from being perfect for me is I feel the second half is not as good as the first, still great just not as good
"High and Low" means more than how much money one has or what position someone has gotten to, it represents the ethical boundaries crossed to achieve the goals of yourself at the cost of others. We see that with the beginning of the film where money connected to life's work is traded to one's life in contrast to the end of the film where one's honor is traded for the sake of sullying in envy.
The plot is paced perfectly. The length of the film may be daunting to watch for most audiences because this is truly a film and not a movie. In the same way you stare at a painting for an hour and ask "what does…
Amazing film. My first time watching a non-samurai era Kurosawa film, and he nails it....very strange to see Toshiro Mifune as an early '60s businessman, but he's as great as ever. The first hour is almost like a play, set entirely in one room, while the last hour is an incredibly thorough police procedural, with a thrilling sequence in between, and it's all just absolutely riveting....for a 145-minute film, it totally flies by. Some seriously good directing, during the first half in particular, and the ending is strangely chilling. Probably the best Kurosawa film I've seen, minus possibly Seven Samurai.
Quando comecei a assistir mais filmes eu precisava de um caminho pra seguir e caí de cabeça em um monte…
Step One: Go to www.random.org.
Step Two: Pick a Number.
Step Three: GET WEIRD!