High And Low

Akira Kurosawa's adaptation of a cheap American detective novel, High And Low is both a superb thriller that never lets up in suspense for a second of its two hours and twenty minutes, and a metaphysical probe of the ambiguities of guilt and innocence that elevates the crime-movie genre to the level of Dostoevsky in the final sequences where victim confronts victor, and it's not clear who has triumphed. High And Low is possibly more timely today than when it was made in 1962, when kidnapping the children of the rich for ransom was not yet an everyday ocurrence. Toshiro Mifune gives a superb performance as a wealthy executive forced to pay ransom to a kidnapper who mistakenly abducts his chauffeur's son instead of his own. Kurosawa's technique in narrating the police manhunt, a scientifically executed investigation of great complexity and clockwork precision, is simply dazzling. Steeped in moral anguish and social compassion, High And Low is one of Kurosawa's best films.

High And Low is repeated on Tuesday, June 5.

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