Monday, October 10, 2016

HIGH AND LOW (1963)

Just as a wealthy businessman, Toshiro Mifune, is on the verge of spending every single yen he has on a stock deal that will give him control of the corporation that he works for, he receives a phone call that will change his life forever: his only son has been kidnapped!  The kidnapper wants a massive ransom that will financially break Mifune, but he agrees.  The kidnapper promises to call back with instructions and right as Mifune is discussing things with his frantic wife...his son walks in.  Wat da fuq?  Ends up the kidnapper accidentally kidnapped Mifune's chauffeur's son instead.  Now Mifune must decide if he should risk certain financial destruction for an employee's child.  He must also ask himself "If I don't, will my wife ever have sex with me again?"

I love police procedurals, especially when the investigation is headed up by Tatsuya Nakadai!  He's one of my absolute favorite actor and seeing him and Mifune together is always exciting.  Takashi Shimura also shows up as a cop, but for whatever reason his role is very small.  I was really disappointed by that.  Anyway, HIGH AND LOW is a very well made film with an exciting story, awesome camera work (the train scene was bad ass) and top-notch acting by an impressive cast full of familiar faces.

A few minor complaints would be: the runtime (143 minutes) is a little too long and the cops...not only did they do a terrible job at tailing the kidnapper on foot (how he never spotted them is beyond me), but they were 100% responsible for that one woman's death!  Then again, maybe that was done on purpose to show that the police only care about protecting wealthy people, even at the expense of letting a penniless drug addict die.

Definitely worth a watch for fans of Japanese cinema and good movies in general.