Kenjiro Ishiyama

Kenjiro Ishiyama

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High And Low Review


Excellent
"Don't get too close, but don't take your eyes off him!" exhorts Chief Detective Tokura (Tatsuya Nakadai) to one of his assistants in Akira Kurosawa's intense crime drama High and Low. Tokura could just as well be directing the camera operator doing the distant setups in Kurosawa's distinctive telephoto lens manner. Kurosawa's style serves to optically mash all the actors together onto one confining plane as they uncomfortably breathe down each other's neck. The images populate the widescreen frame like a pressure cooker that is ready to blow up. And in High and Low, blow up they do.

Based upon Ed McBain's 87th Precinct crime novel, King's Ransom, Kurosawa transforms this pulp source into a morality play of good and evil with the stakes a man's redemption of his soul in a heartless world. High and Low is the English translation of the Japanese Tengoku to jigoku, but a more accurate translation would be "Heaven and Hell," and that is what the film conveys -- Heaven being the high-rise luxury home of National Shoe executive Kingo Gondo (Toshir? Mifune), high on a mountain overlooking the squalid Hell of juke joints, prostitutes, dope alleys, and poverty below.

Continue reading: High And Low Review

Kaidan Review


Good
Kaidan is the kind of film that washes over you without much worry for whether or not you're following its story. And considering the movie is based on four simplistic short stories/fairy tales (of Japanese origin -- I do not know how "classic" the stories are in Japanese culture), you probably won't care one whit whether the samurai returns to his true love after divorcing her to marry a rich woman, or whether a woodcutter breaks his promise not to tell other people about a snow spirit.

Continue reading: Kaidan Review

Kenjiro Ishiyama

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