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A detective investigates a series of murders. A possible serial killer might be on a rampage, since they all are in the same vicinity and by the same method, but as the evidence points ... See full summary »
Reiko, a prize-winning writer, moves to a quiet isolated house to finish up her new novel. One night she sees the man next door transporting an object wrapped in cloth. She finds out he is ... See full summary »
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This is a grim, cleverly plotted revenge story from Kiyoshi Kurosawa - and aside from his brilliant Cure, perhaps his best film. On the surface, it's an uncompromising story of revenge. When a man loses his daughter in a brutal attack, the father connects with a man, a mathematician, clear-minded enough to help him have his revenge. But murder would be too easy; and that's where the cold, calculated tale takes unusual turns.
Kurosawa (no relation to Akira) sets his story in a drab, unflattering version of Japan where mercy is a rare commodity. In fact, the hallmarks of an Akira Kurosawa film - humanism, literacy, grand visuals - are mostly inverted. The antagonist is caught in the first few minutes, so the remainder of the film is a penetrating psychological study that's sometimes also cruel. At the same time, the director uses the template of a standard revenge story to explore something wider and deeper, and it's thrilling to watch the tale unfold. There's no musical soundtrack, no "feel-good" comic moments to escape into; it's as cold as it fascinating, all the more amazing for its unwillingness to compromise. It's not a typical revenger, and it's all the more exciting because of it. First rate.
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