Move Review - High and Low (1963 – Japan)
Akira Kirusawa's wonderful High and Low - a thoughtful, astonishingly surprising suspence film
This is a film that seduces you gradually. It starts slowly, in a room with a wall of windows, a room that manages to feel horribly claustrophobic in spite of all that glass. Gradually that room becomes a character in the movie, too, becoming not so much a place as an attitude and a metaphor for the empathy-less corporate culture the events in the movie shatter.
Watch this great movie:
Watch the trailer for Akia Kirusawa's High and Low
How to decide when a life is on the line? Akira Kirusawa's High and Low asks that question and others.
I disagree with the many reviews of this film that fault the second half of the picture for being disjointed and inferior to the first half. The transition of focus that happens at about the midpoint is one of the most satisfying parts of the film because at that point we need to step outside that surreal room with its wall of windows (and repressed emotions) and look at what the windows look out upon: the rest of the world, in all its complexity -- life, in all its wonderful and horrifying messiness.
There are images from this movie that are remarkably haunting, archetypal bits and pieces of the world inside the room and outside it that lodge in your mind and linger. This picture is a terrific antidote to the blow-up-more-stuff-louder school of cinema and a great choice to watch with thoughtful companions with a willingness to discuss it after viewing.
Copyright © Roberta Lee 2012. All rights reserved.
(I am an artist and the author of the Suburban Sprawl series of novels as well as two nonfiction books. Find out more about my work at RobertaLeeArt.com.)
Running Time: 2 hr. 23 min.
In Theaters: Nov 26, 1963
On DVD: Oct 13, 1998
Directed By: Akira Kurosawa
Written By: Ryuzo Kikushima, Hideo Oguni, Akira Kurosawa
Toshiro Mifune - Kingo Gondo
Kyoko Kagawa - Reiko Gondo's Wife
Tatsuya Nakadai - Inspector Tokura
Yutaka Sada - Aoki
Kenjiro Ishiyama - Detective Taguchi
Susumu Fujita - Commissioner
Takeshi Katô - Detective Nakao