braden’s review published on Letterboxd:
“Success isn’t worth losing your humanity”
This may be the third Akira Kurosawa film I’ve rated five stars this week however I cannot emphasise enough how utterly brilliant High and Low is in particular; exceeding my already insanely high expectations from the director in one of the most perfect balances of emotion, thrill, mystery and commentary ever made.
We’re initially introduced to the simple but flawless concept as a stern but virtuous businessman is pushed to moral extremes when a kidnapper mistakenly takes the son of his chauffeur - a sequence directed with gut-wrenching tension and sensitivity, keeping me constantly restless and often on the verge of tears. The story later evolves as we’re given more insight into the police investigation, calming the nerves but maintaining the high levels of intrigue as it slowly but entertainingly builds suspense towards its extended climax; plunging deeper thematically into the titular ‘lows’ of its immaculately constructed commentary on class division.
With so many fine details and superbly executed ideas, Kurosawa’s extraordinary directorial talents and phenomenal precision are used to the best of ability; resulting in what will likely remain my most favourite of his films and undeniably one of the greatest of all time.