Saturday, June 9, 2007

High and Low (1963)

Directed by Akira Kurosawa. Starring Toshiro Mifune and Tatsuya Mihashi.

Looking back on Kurosawa's filmography is like reading a list of classic films (RASHOMON, IKIRU, THE SEVEN SAMURAI, THE HIDDEN FORTRESS, THRONE OF BLOOD- and thats just the 1950s). Kurosawa was dismissed by Japanese critics in his time as being "too Western", and like his famed samurai epics owe a debt to American Westerns and adventure pictures, HIGH AND LOW was adapted from a pulp novel by Ed McBain. On the surface, it's a gritty kidnapping drama, and the film observes the crime and the investigation in great detail. However, what makes the film truly great is how acutely Kurosawa examines the notion of social class in modern-day Japan.

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