To the Ends of the Earth ★★★★

Perfectly poised set-pieces. An introvert's travel guide. Seventh Code flipped the standard of the value of "courage" on its head in a thematic remake of The Seventh Victim, but this film heaps indignities and humiliations not as either admonitions or paths to growth, but as a paring down of the world and our place in it to its barest essential: we are always strangers in our own land. (Meanwhile, love is always a red herring consistently in Kurosawa's 2010s films, an ideal that doesn't exist.) It's good Kurosawa remains so confident and unflappable, because this film could very well have "oversold" its story to reflect the flightiness and insecurity of its main character, but Kurosawa's narrative construction remains as modal - in that scattershot way of his - as ever. Once again you have to go with the flow, and there is no way the (well-executed) finale here can compare to the comparable denouement of Tokyo Sonata, conceptually, technically, or emotionally, but this should only benefit by how much it can possibly lie outside of his filmography.

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