High and Low

High and Low ★★★★★

"That house gets on your nerves. As if it's looking down at us."

I bought tickets to watch High and Low for a March 23, 2020 showing. Yes, one week after COVID came to the United States and everything got shut down. Obviously, theaters closed, and I didn't get to see it.

Better late than never of course, but I am still really behind on Kurosawa's filmography. I don't often find myself in the mood to watch samurai films, but Kurosawa movies aren't only samurai flicks. As a huge fan of noir, I was so excited to watch this, and it did not disappoint in the slightest. Throughout the whole film, I just could not believe how well-paced this movie was. The first hour of the film is just spectacular, and even though we're pretty much in the same room the entire hour, there are just so many moving parts in each scene, and Kurosawa's blocking keeps it visually interesting. It's such a fantastic build-up to the train sequence, which was absolutely nail-biting.

I've read some "minor complaints" about how the second half kind of feels more like a standard procedural/police drama, but I definitely disagree. Gondo isn't in much of the second half, but we actually still get a lot of information about his character from others. The latter half dives deeper into Aoki's guilt towards the situation, along with understanding the villain's motivation and how it ties into the themes of class disparity. This definitely had to have inspired Parasite.

Although a black-and-white movie, there is one singular shot where color is used, and it is absolutely brilliant.

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