last updated - Sunday, February 1, 2015.
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High and Low
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.
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.
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…
High and Low is Akira Kurosawa's near masterpiece of suspense and mis en scene. The film is tautly shot, edited, and paced and provides searing social commentary on 1960's Japan (drug problems, lenient sentences for serious crimes, corporatism, etc.) and the film moves effortlessly from a genre film to a highly politicized critique. Kurosawa's compositions are absolutely breathtaking and almost on par with what he accomplished with The Hidden Fortress. Performances are strong and there are numerous instances of hilarious black humour. Kurosawa also uses long takes to great effect in conjunction with his usual stylistic flourishes.
the conductor orchestrates his suspenseful symphony.
till the end a suspenseful movie!
I thought Kurosawa only made Samurai movies or period pieces. I was wrong. He also made a really awesome kidnapping/manhunt procedural called High And Low, which is 3 films in one really. It starts off like Ron Howard's Ransom, morphs into Fincher's Zodiac and ends up a little bit like Hitchcock's Pyscho. If you like procedurals that many people would deem "boring" then give this one a go. Also, Toshiro Mifune is one of the greatest actors of all time and his skills are on fine display here.
THIS FILM IS A PAINTING.
High and Low might just be the best crime drama I've ever seen. The tension and intrigue it's able to keep through the two and a half hour runtime is only matched by a few of the best. It seems that this film has joined their ranks. Taking place in one space for the first hour, the film delves intimately into the life of a businessman targeted by a kidnapper. We watch him fall apart as the pressure to make a decision begins to weight more and more as the time goes on.
Then the film moves into its second half, the crime mystery. We follow the police squad hunt down the kidnapper, hoping to…
As in Ikiru, Kurosawa gives us two movies for the price of one. On the front end we have him probing our moral judgments, carefully testing for the limits of our willingness to make sacrifices for the good of others. On the back end we have a lively police procedural following the compelling logic of converging lines of evidence. It is remarkable that the two halves work together as well as they do, but they do.
Criterion spine #24
In my Japanese cinema class, my teacher - an expert in Akira Kurosawa - said he mulled over which of Kurosawa's films would be the first film he showed in our class. Instead of choosing the obvious choices of Seven Samurai or Rashomon, he went with High and Low, the first film my teacher had watched from Kurosawa and what would be my first introduction to Kurosawa.
I think Seven Samurai might be the better film, but personally, High and Low might be my favorite Kurosawa film. It's tense in just the right ways, expertly paced and the framing of all the characters throughout is perfect. The first hour is fantastic at putting the viewer in Toshiro…
I'd rate it 4.25 if I could. The first hour is masterful. The last 45 minutes or so keeps me on edge. But the stuff in between always loses me every time I rewatch it. It's not that it's bad. They really go into detail for how they're carrying on with the investigation. But some of that chunk in the middle loses my attention and I just start thinking about other things. It's a bit of a pacing issue for me. I like that they are thorough and smart when narrowing down the details. I just feel it was a bit too long and could've been trimmed to make the film tighter. But regardless it starts and finishes strong and is a damn great procedural.
last updated - Sunday, February 1, 2015.
The entire Criterion collection organized by spine number.
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Number I've Seen: 190/768 (25%)…