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High and Low (Criterion Collection) (1962)

Cast: Toshiro Mifune, Kyoko Kagawa, Tatsuya Nakadai, more...
Director: Akira Kurosawa
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Rating: Not Rated
Studio: Criterion
Genre: Drama, Foreign, Japan, Neo Noir, Criterion Collection
Running Time: 143 min.
Languages: Japanese
Subtitles: English
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Synopsis
Based on King's Ransom, an "87th Precinct" novel by Ed McBain (aka Evan Hunter), High and Low stars Toshiro Mifune as Gondo, a wealthy industrialist. Gondo is contacted by a gang of kidnappers, who inform him that they've kidnapped his son. The crooks demand a huge ransom for the boy's return -- an amount so huge that it will utterly bankrupt Gondo. As the harried businessman prepares to pay the ransom, he discovers that his son is safe at home: the kidnappers have accidentally snatched the son of his chauffeur. Does Gondo drop his payoff plans, or does he do the honorable thing and rescue his employee's son? This dilemma is but one aspect of the multilayered character study from the unbeatable team of star Toshiro Mifune and filmmaker Akira Kurosawa, who directs this superb film with his usual depth and impeccable eye for detail and character. As a man forced to make impossible decisions, Mifune gives a nuanced, perceptive and psychologically convincing performance. While not one of Kurosawa's master works, High and Low, with its grim reality and moral ambiguity stands as a superb example of film noir at its best. High and Low was originally released in Japan as Tengoku To-Jigoku. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

You might also enjoy:
Ransom
And for the recent, Hollywood version of the story...; very suspenseful, even if Ron Howard is not quite Kurosawa

Kurosawa
Insightful, engaging documentary bio of the legendary director


GreenCine Member Reviews

Amazing Movie by funnytoo May 30, 2012 - 8:35 AM PDT
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considering this is a 1962 Film, I couldn't help but be swept away by the Noir look & feel. Kurosawa obviously had been watching the French New Wave movies or was it the other way around??!! Either way, carefully crafted, beautifully acted (although a little stifling for todays taste) & the Nightclub scene & music must rank right up there with Uma & John in "Pulp Fiction" and our Bad Boy looks anything as good as Alain Delon in "Purple Noon"
This is a ""Don't Miss""

High and Low by johelinedvd March 4, 2002 - 11:52 AM PST
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6 out of 6 members found this review helpful
A brilliant crime film from one of the all time great directors. This is yet another Toshiro Mifune and Akira Kurosawa collaborations. Mifune, possibly most familiar to American audiences from the Shogunmini-series, probably has never been more dignified and honorable as a business man torn between helping save his chauffeurs son and the consequences of doing the right thing. Where most modern crime films would have sped through and ended in a car chase, High and Lowtakes it time to layer the intensity, unravel the kidnapping, and provide a behind the scene glimpse into the leg work the police do to solve a case. Kurosawa, better known for his period pieces, shows again what a master director can do with any genre.




GreenCine Member Rating
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(Average 8.32)
383 Votes
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the finest in cinema
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my personal favourites
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Paul Schrader's Canon: 50 Essential Films
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As seen in the writer-director's lengthy, invigorating article in Film Comment Magazine.
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