High and Low

High and Low ★★★★½

Not sure why exactly but High and Low kind of feels like if and 12 Angry Men had a love child directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Clearly that comparison isn’t entirely accurate but I feel like it’s on the right track.

Kurosawa’s High and Low feels like three different films put into one: a film set in a single location concerning an important (and complex) moral dilemma, a grand mystery following a police investigation, and finally a tense methodical game of cat and mouse. However the brilliance of High and Low should mainly be credited to its superb screenplay. Its constant twists and turns not only exist in the narrative, but in its style as well. Multiple times the film changed the perspective of characters, the structure of the narrative itself, and even the shot types between each act felt different.

Another aspect that really stood out to me was the blocking of characters. I’ve noticed a lot of films from this era seem to have very theatrical character movements which tends to annoy the hell out of me, but in this film, while the movement was a bit exaggerated, it all worked so perfectly. From Gondo’s nervous pacing as he’s literally and figuratively trapped in a corner, Aoki’s helpless and shameful retreats, detectives constantly facing away from the main action in the first half as their moods shift from silent condemnation to empathetic support, to of course the ending (no spoilers tho). This has to be one of the most well paced films I have ever seen, I know I say that a lot but this film feels like a hour max, and is truly one of the best thrillers I’ve ever seen easily.

This may enter my favorites in the future but for right now it’s close to a 10.

9.7 / 10

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