In the midst of an attempt to take over his company, a powerhouse executive is hit with a huge ransom demand when his servants son is kidnapped. An adaption of Ed McBain’s detective novel_King’s Ransom_.
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A great crime drama, but so much more than that - A profound portrait of tragedy and malice that permeates class distinctions in a fluid way, like a liquid poison. This film takes us from a luxury mansion to "junkie alley" and back again, with an incredible scene along the way, a chaotic noisy jukebox whisky bar so meticulously orchestrated that it's cinematic power is overwhelming and undeniable.
Rather than spend my time and praise this film and its script like everyone else, I'd like to point out how a seemimgly forgettable shot can sum up an entire film. The shot in question occurs during the last half-hour when we enter a bar full of tourists. It's the shot of mirrors reflecting the crowd along with prices of the drinks. In short, in one instance, Kurosawa juxtaposes people's social image with capitalism.
My third experience with Kurosawa, and my goodness, what an incredible experience. It feels like Kurosawa doing Hitchcock and Polanski at the same time, and the result is a goddamn 2 hours crime drama with amazing cinematography (YOU WILL DEFINITELY LOVE THE WAY KUROSAWA DO THE FRAMING) and mesmerizing dialogue (YOU WILL DEFINITELY LOVE THE CONVERSATION AT THE END OF THE MOVIE). A mastepiece indeed.
A riveting watch, entertaining and frightening in equal measure. Mifune is truly excellent in a rare (lamentably rare) understated role, but Tsutomu Yamazaki is as good in the role of the deranged kidnapper, hiding behind excuses and mirrored shades. Great use of widescreen.
Kurosawa is known for transplanting Shakespeare to feudal Japan, so why not migrate a NYC-styled noir crime thriller to 1960's Japan? Dramatically, it's a bit disjointed even as it engages: a stagey first act, the methodical police procedural in the middle, then heavy-handed social commentary at the end. At its best, it's a fascinating record of the times, catching a nation in cultural and economic transition.
This may be the best thing Kurosawa has ever done...this was the first contemporary film I've seen of his and was pretty much blown away by it. The script is fantastic, the pace is excellent but the best part about this movie is the amazing imagery. The shots are perfect and this film has this awesome silver & black look to it.
Another masterpiece from Kurosawa, High and Low is the director's third film noir, and an interesting spin on the genre. What I love most about the film is how atmospheric the film is. Every shot is so well-composed, and the sequences are so well staged. But the film gives the viewer a lot to mull over, and of course there's some great suspense. Toshiro Mifune is amazing as always.