“The Lower Depths” is a small-scale and intimate Akira Kurosawa film that takes place almost entirely in one tenement. The movie shows the daily life of the tenants, all of them poor social outcasts such as thieves, prostitutes, beggars, drunks, or gamblers. Their lives are full of despair, frustration, and hopelessness with only rare glimpses of happiness.
The characters are interesting, fleshed out, and believable, the acting is top-notch, and the themes are timelessly relevant. It´s a contemplative and poignant film. Nevertheless, visual style, craftmanship, and narrative are not as impressive, distinct, and memorable as in most other Kurosawa films I have seen. The film has its boring and dragging moments and overall, it feels longer than it is.