Spanish film poster. (transl. "The Hell of Hatred")
A couple of days ago I wrote about my frustration about unsynchronized subtitles to the second half of this wonderful Akira Kurosawa film [post], and now I've finally managed to see all of it. And it got even better. Jesus Christ, this is one hell of a cool film! A new favorite of mine, and obviously the best of the Kurosawa films I've seen this far.
Don't the detective standing up look a lot like Tor Johnson
in Plan 9 From Outer Space (1959)?
The famous color sequence. Don't get a copy without it -
you'll miss an important point in the plot.
Looking closer at Japanese cinema, and foreign films over all, is such a total opposite experience from the Hollywood films of the same era. Perhaps the difference lies in the restraints of Hollywood's film making, or perhaps in the different cultures in different parts of the world - whatever the reason, watching foreign films works as a real eye opener and the experience is satisfying in so many ways.
Take High and Low for an example. It's a really cool film, but not in the hard-boiled Hollywood way. The characters aren't one-dimensional, but the heroes are more like anti-heroes. And even though I would describe this film as a crime drama, the genre is difficult to determine. There is a lovely subtle humor slipping tough the tough facade regularly, scenes without dialogue supersede noisy nightclub scenes with jazz versions of O Sole Mio, and there is even shockingly frightening scenes in a dark alley full of drug addicts.
This film has it all, and the mix of totally opposite genre types is more than successful. It is grand.
And the actors? God Almighty, they are heavy. Speaking of the three main characters Gondo (Toshirô Mifune), Detective Tokura (Tatsuya Nakadai) and Ginjirô Takeushi (Tsutomu Yamakazi), they are all so genuine and realistic, yet dramatic. Just like the film itself manages to balance different styles, so do the actors manage to balance drama and realism. And yes, I am still violently in love with Tatsuya Nakadai.
With risk of repeating myself for the seventyeleventh time: this film is awesome. Just awesome. So awesome that I had to pause it several times to avoid exploding of excitement. I also had to pause it an additional time to phone my brother who like Kurosawa.
"Rubashov! (My nickname for him.) I'm watching this AWESOME movie! You just have to see it! A crime film! Kurosawa! Jazz music! And they are all so cool! Not Hollywood cool, but cool! Anti-hero cool! It's AWESOME!"
"Ehrm... I'm in the middle of a dinner with my girlfriend's parents now... but sure, I'll watch it. If I have the time."
"You have to! It's AWESOME!"
So there you have it. Now I think I have to go out on the balcony and cool off after this fantastic experience. There will definitively be more Kurosawa on this blog, that's for sure.
What IS her wearing? Japanese undercover cops are weird.
I found a trailer on YouTube for the film. As usual, the trailer is quite misleading and makes the film look like some Dirty Harry wannabe. But anyhow, it gives you some insight in what the film looks like: