High and Low (1963)

Not Rated   |    |  Crime, Drama, Mystery


High and Low (1963) Poster

An executive of a shoe company becomes a victim of extortion when his chauffeur's son is kidnapped and held for ransom.


8.5/10
29,202

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Cast & Crew

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Director:

Akira Kurosawa

Writers:

Hideo Oguni (screenplay), Ryûzô Kikushima (screenplay), Eijirô Hisaita (screenplay), Akira Kurosawa (screenplay), Evan Hunter (novel)

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User Reviews


23 September 1999 | Craig-32
Another Great Film from Japan's Master Filmmaker
While I've seen HIGH AND LOW referred to as a "film noir," a "detective drama," a "riveting game of cat-and-mouse," and so on into infinity, I think those terms tend to underestimate some very great films (such as this and Kubrick's THE KILLING) and attempts to place them within boundaries over which the expanse of a few powerful films such as these spill.

Indeed HIGH AND LOW is a story involving some familiar techniques from film noir; the detective story; and the hunter-and-hunted storyline, but it surpasses so many films that might be included in a list of fine films noires. It, in true Kurosawa style (one which Stanley Kubrick matched blow-for-blow, seeming to complement one another in their stunning gifts to the cinema), stands as a fable showing the differences and tensions which the coexistance of different classes creates.

Gondo, the rich on high, receives torment from those who live below him, being literally perched upon a hill, overlooking the city in a feudalistic way, in which the king's palace gazes down upon the serfs below. As the kidnapper says, "it's hot as hell down here. But you wouldn't know that, you have air conditioning." Thus we see the parallels pile upon each other: it is about class warfare but also shows the differences between heaven and hell; and Gondo makes both a descent and ascent simultaneously.

The plot is simple, but the truth is complicated, and I won't go into it here, but take my word as it stands: this is an amazing piece of film. See it now or regret it! Every Kurosawa film is sublime.

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