Okay, so before I begin this review, let’s just get this out of the way. This is an Akira Kurosawa film, as in it was directed by- so, you know, done deal. If you’re a movie man or woman of any merit whatsoever you don’t need to hear anymore. Akira Kurosawa; that is all!
And for the unacquainted, get acquainted!
Stray Dog is the story of a young Japanese detective who is robbed of his pistol on a commuter bus in post-war Tokyo. As he begins a desperate search for his lost pistol he discovers a ruthless killer is using it to go on a bit of a rampage. The film documents his search for the pistol through st-war tokyo, his guilt at knowing the deaths he’s investigating are in no small part his fault, and the psychological pathology of the killer.
Starring Toshiro Mifune (or as I call him, the Japanese Jimmy Stewart, John Wayne and Orson Welles hybrid) and Takashi Shimura (Amazingtastic if ever the not-quite-a-word were appropriate) star as the fledgling detective and the older, wiser cop who takes the young pup under his wing during the most traumatic case of his career. They are accompanied by other incredible actors, but they own the show, especially Mifune, who is one of the most intense actors to ever grace the screen. One can see his pain, his guilt at knowing the bullets he loaded into a gun are taking lives.
Also fantastic, Akira Kurosawa’s descent into the world of post-war Tokyo; he highlights every poverty stricken street and the feeling of loss that stains the picture.
In short, the film is mesmerizing, painful, and glorious; watching the fucking thing, smiling all the while, or I will find and destroy you.