Reviews written by registered user
|3 reviews in total|
Dreams is a painful movie in many ways.
Kurosawa is an old man, and in Dreams, he fumbles about awkwardly, straining ham-fisted metaphors and be-laboring the audience with overt didacticism. It's almost unfathomable how people can bring themselves to fellate such unmitigated garbage, especially when the scope of Kurosawa's filmography contains such a wealth of unquestionably greater films.
The glut of positive reviews is a shame. Only people with an shallow, uniformed filmic experience could find this movie to be satisfactory. It's a embarrassing point in Kurosawa's career, and with any luck it will be forgotten and all existing copies will be buried somewhere in the Nevada desert.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A film of expert and scrupulous construction, High and Low demonstrates how a gifted filmmaker can control the structure of a film to enhance tension and narrative suspense. This film came at the zenith of Kurosawa's career and his skill is apparent in every shot; it is the work of a man who possesses complete mastery of his craft, and the movie is a masterpiece of 'constructional' film. Externally High and Low is about a kidnapping case, but as the title suggests, it is also about paradox, and relationship between polar opposites. The film can be enjoyed at both levels, either as a suspenseful police procedural, or as a meditation on opposite and similar existences. Because Kuroswa intertwines both, the film is extremely engaging. As in Ikiru, Kurosawa forces the viewer to abstain from empathizing with the characters, and it is through this method that the viewer can learn from them and appreciate the situations they exist in. One of the few films to create suspense through structure, High and Low deserves special notice. It is in this aspect that Kurosawa's expertise really shows. As in Ikiru, High and Low is broken into separate parts. The first trimester takes place entirely in a living room. The angled shots, intense close-ups, unchanging setting, and the viewers anticipations all contribute to an acute suspense that culminates in one of the most powerful transitions to ever take place in film. The transition scene occurs one a train, and the sense of motion and speed allow the viewer to experience tension and excitement merely through change in setting and suggestion of motion. Once the suspense is resolved the movie takes the form of a detective story, as the kidnapping culprit is sought after. The procedure is very interesting and the methods and processes of the detectives easily intrigue the viewer. The discovery of the culprit is accomplished through a brilliant sequence of editing, in which Kurosawa demonstrates his skills with one of the most fluid and seamless series of cuts in filmic history. Afterwards the detectives pursue the criminal and the film reaches conclusion with his capture. As always Kurosawa's shot composition is gorgeous, but in High and Low it also serves to support Kurosawa's affirmations about man. High angles and low shots combine with intense close-ups to elevate tension and remind the viewer of the films ever-present motifs. As previously stated the editing is worthy of special notice. The acting is superb, but not as prominent or vital to the film as others of Kurosawa. Sound is used carefully and successfully, and dialogue is minimal but effective. High and Low must be seen by Kurosawa devotees and fans of well-crafted cinema.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Akira Kurosawa and Toshiro Mifune's third collaboration, Stray Dog, is one of the many great gendai-geki films to emerge from this infamous actor-director team. As was typical of many of Kurosawa's contemporary pieces, Stray Dog is used to comment on the state of post war Japan. When a rookie detective(Mifune) has his pistol stolen on a crowded bus, he sets out to recover it, and capture the criminal before his pistol can be used in a violent crime. Mifune is excellent as the green police officer, and Takashi Shimura is, as always, perfect in his role as an older more experienced detective. Kurosawa's camera work is flawless. Even in his earlier films his blocking, tracking, composition, and lighting already possess a striking artistry and competency. This film is a must see for fans of kurosawa, mifune, noir, or detective procedurals.