When a pickpocket steals a rookie detective’s gun on a hot, crowded bus, the cop goes undercover in a desperate attempt to right the wrong. Kurosawa’s thrilling noir probes the squalid world of postwar Japan and the nature of the criminal mind.
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A sort of by the numbers style noir but through the eyes of a master. A tight gripping tale, which I would say is in similar vein to his later High and Low. Mifune is as usual totally excellent, as is the actor from Ikiru whose name escapes me. My only gripe about the film is it is a bit long in spots in setting up certain scenes, but the overall payoff makes you stop quibbling. Another masterstroke from Kurosawa.
The heat in the film doesn’t only cause the characters to sweat desperation and drive, but makes the film itself sweat style, feeling, and pure cinema as well. It’s a captivating and exciting tale of redemption and guilt, and is clearly an influence on the kind of crime stories and editing styles of films to come later, having absorbed film noir of the times and turned it out into a different kind of element.
Kurosawa's third film with Toshiro Mifune presents post World War Tokyo and a young cop's desperation to keep from slipping into the chaos all around him. Having had his gun stolen by a pickpocket and sold to his doppelganger, the cop travels through the underworld of a defeated society to a final, exhausted and very violent, confrontation in a field of flowers as a woman in a nearby house practices the piano.
Another good example of why most cops shouldn't be carrying guns: they get stolen, usually through negligence. Several hundred guns were stolen from S.F. Bay Area cops in the last few years, including M-16 assault rifles. U.C. Berkeley Police Chief left her gun visible in her personal car when it got stolen. Oakland P.D. won't even say how many of their guns are missing. Gun control should start with cops.
Nice little crime thriller, despite the moralizing and the over-explanations. It's really Takashi Shimura's film, because his performance is well balanced, despite the stupid things the scriptwriters make him say. "Bad guys are bad." Mifune only really finds his stride in his next Kurosawa film Rashomon.
My main, and really only, complaint I have concerning the story is that I have problems feeling much connection to a detective who has his gun lifted by a pickpocket and then is reduced to tears multiple times in the investigation to recover it. Still, the filmmaking prowess cannot be denied in this good, but not great, Kurosawa film.
Intense japanese post-war drama heavily inspired by the crudeness of american film-noir and, on a smaller degree, by the italian neorealism. Takashi Shimura and Toshiro Mifune are great as the veteran detective and his companion, respectively. There are some excellent moments of suspense, like the baseball game and the train station climax.