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Prosecutor Ken Takakura goes on the run after being framed
"Kimi yo fundo no kawa wo watare" (1976) is also titled "Dangerous Chase". This is a lengthy adventure-crime-chase movie that provides a full entertainment bill. The protagonist, Ken Takakura, is a general prosecutor who is accused by two witnesses of separate crimes. Furthermore, stolen goods are found in his apartment. He's been set up. He escapes custody and goes on the run to find out who has done this and why. This takes him away from Tokyo for awhile, flying a single-engine Cessna without experience, chased by police, into a romance with Ryôko Nakano and even into a mental hospital as a phony patient. Leading the pursuit is Yoshio Harada, a detective. Like Takakura, he's a strong charismatic actor. He has some conflict with another prosecutor who has more of an eye for the politics of having a lawman accused of these crimes and wants to gun down Takakura if he's found.
This is a likable movie that uses natural locations and surroundings in Japan, avoiding elaborate stunts and effects. It avoids big action scenes in abandoned or odd industrial locations. A wild bear enters one sequence and horses in Tokyo another. At one point, he takes refuge with Nakano in a cave. She's the daughter of a rich man who's running for political office. The movie takes time to develop their characters.
The movie is not intensely suspenseful and may disappoint on that score, but it does hold out the mystery of the frame-up effectively enough by prolonging the chase sequences and leading up to a satisfying set of resolutions. The movie seems leisurely and slack in places, perhaps a bit clumsy, but it soon moves on. The acting is uniformly very good. The music varied, sometimes using 70s-style electric keyboards, sometimes several stringed instruments that sounded a bit like "The Third Man". The repetition of sound was sometimes obtrusive.
I do not want to sound too negative. I liked the movie overall, but the direction and story did not really create a top-tier suspense piece.
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