High and Low

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[3.5 stars] [IMDb Link]

This Kurosawa film is based on a 87th Precinct novel (King's Ransom) by the late great Ed McBain (really Evan Hunter). Moved, of course, from McBain's thinly-disguised New York City to Japan.

It's rather tedious in the beginning, as all the action (or lack thereof) takes place in the house of a shoe tycoon. The tycoon is on the cusp of a major business coup, which will (I am not making this up) allow him to prevail over both the hidebound CEO of the shoe business and his craven colleagues who want to flood the market with cheap flashy footwear. But then a kidnapper absconds with the tycoon's son. But, oops, wait a minute, it's actually the son of the tycoon's chauffeur. But the kidnapper still wants the ransom; and paying the ransom will bankrupt the tycoon. So…

This all takes a long time to set up, and it's all done with dialog and stagy, unimaginative scenes.

But once the film breaks out of the tycoon's house, the pace picks up and things get more interesting. And by the end, the film turns nightmarish.

Last Modified 2024-02-04 4:58 AM EDT