High and Low

1963 [JAPANESE]

Crime / Drama / Mystery / Thriller

Synopsis


Uploaded By: FREEMAN
April 16, 2020 at 08:29 AM

Director

Cast

Toshirô Mifune as Kingo Gondo
Tatsuya Nakadai as Chief Detective Tokura
Takashi Shimura as Chief of Investigation Section
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
1.29 GB
1280*544
Japanese 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
2 hr 23 min
P/S 4 / 29
2.65 GB
1920*816
Japanese 5.1
NR
23.976 fps
2 hr 23 min
P/S 3 / 31

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by dorlago 10 / 10

Intense and Highly Entertaining

"High and Low" could be considered two movies. The first, "High" takes place in Kingo Gondo's (Mifune's) hilltop mansion. The crime occurs and what follows in the next hour is one of the most meticulous and brilliantly constructed film segments I have ever seen! The first half of the film could almost be considered theatre. It is static and deceptively simple but.....so intense! The ensemble acting is superb with Mifune a stand out as usual! Connecting these two movies is the train sequence. After the calculated intensity of the first part this scene comes at you like a sledgehammer! These four or five minutes are magnificent! So very exciting and so very quick it leaves you drained when it ends! "Low" begins with the hunt for the criminal. Only "Stray Dog" comes closer to capturing the cop's decent into hell. This last part of the film is fast and furious. We are no longer an observer. We have become part of the chase. First, we know who the criminal is. The police do not know and what follows is a fascinating puzzle being put together before our eyes! The last scene in the film is unexpected, deeply disturbing and left me numb and staring at the TV screen after the film had ended. Like Gondo we are left with the answers that we did not want to hear.

Reviewed by kmscb-1 10 / 10

The film "Ransom" could have been.

"High and Low" is one of those deceptive detective-thrillers that sneak in under your radar and grab you from behind with their storytelling magic. It's proof positive of Kurosawa's mastery of film and all its imagery.

The story was adapted from an Ed McBain "87th Precinct" novel, "King's Ransom", and is really very simple. A successful businessman (Mr. Gondo) in the middle of a major deal is told his son has been kidnapped. All concerns about money fly out the window...until Gondo learns it was actually his chauffeur's son who was taken by mistake. Doesn't matter; the kidnapper still wants him to pay the ransom, even though it will bankrupt him. Will Gondo destroy his standing in the business world to save the life of a child that is not even his? Or will he just leave it to the police and fate to determine whether the child lives or dies? This makes up the first half of the film.

The second half deals with the search for the kidnapper and his accomplices, and it does not shy away from showing how dull and grueling good police work is. Step by step, the cops narrow their field of suspects and build their evidence to link their prey to murder as well as the kidnapping, meaning he would face execution. This makes up the second half of the film.

It helps to know that in the original story, the businessman refuses to pay the ransom but does help the police track down the kidnappers. It also helps to understand that in Japan, working your way up from making shoes and satchels by hand to being in a position where you could wind up owning the company is a HUGE accomplishment in a caste driven society. It means he is due additional respect, and this is what Gondo faces losing if he pays the ransom, which is far more important than the fact that he will be driven into bankruptcy.

From the first scene through an amazingly exciting section on a bullet train to the ending moments between Gondo and the kidnapper, Kurosawa shows exactly why he is a master of cinema. To take what is basically an episode of "Law and Order" and make it into a meditation on the meaning of life and evil is not something just any film school twit could do.

To me, the best moment on a human level comes when Gondo descends the stairs the morning after the kidnapping to explain to the police why he cannot pay the ransom for a child not even his. You can see the man realizing he is allowing himself go to hell in order to protect his family and station in life, and Toshiro Mifune underplays it beautifully...and Kurosawa lets it just simply happen. Wonderful.

THIS is the movie Mel Gibson's "Ransom" wishes it had been. something real and human and meaningful instead of merely kick-ass.

Ten out of ten stars.

Reviewed by jemmytee 10 / 10

Kurosawa at his best and most subtle

This is one of those rare movies I had to watch twice to catch all the meaning and beauty of its construction, that is how sleek and polished this film is. The storyline is deceptively simple -- a businessman named Gondo is about to take control of the company he's worked in for years when he's told his son's been kidnapped. It turns out the kidnappers got his chauffeur's son by mistake, but they still want him to pay the ransom. If he does, he will be financially ruined. If he doesn't, he will be reviled. Which will he choose? This makes up the first half of the movie, culminating in a breathtaking scene on one of Japan's bullet trains. The second half is the police search for the kidnapper/murderer and how a case is built that will take him to the gallows.

Now this sounds like your typical cop thriller, the type Hollywood churns out with one hand tied behind its back, but Kurosawa makes it into a meditation on honor and decency, and on how one's choices can lead one to Heaven or to Hell in little steps that seem to be taking you nowhere. Gondo is an honorable man who worked hard to built himself a life of wealth and power. This is no small feat, considering Japan is not known as a society where one can easily change one's station in life, so this adds to his dilemma; he will not only lose his fortune, he will also lose his hard-gained power and respect in the business community, all for a child that is not even his. And not only will he lose but his own wife and son will, as well. But to NOT pay the ransom means he will lose everything in him that is human and decent, and his wife and son will suffer from that, too.

This is a big deal -- not just in Japanese society but in the world as a whole. It doesn't matter if you live in Nepal or Kenya or Argentina or New York City, when faced with the choice of losing your position in your society or losing your soul, which would you choose? And would you still make that choice knowing that even if the cops catch the bad guy, it will make no difference in your own circumstances? Just a glance at some of the recent stock scandals gives you a good idea of where most people fall in their choices. And even Ed McBain, upon whose novel this movie is based, knew how hard it would be to give up your world for your spirit; his businessman refuses to pay the ransom.

To me, this movie is Kurosawa at his best and most subtle. Every shot is composed and measured and done just right. Not all films have to have bombs exploding and chase scenes and people going "Boo!" to affect you; sometimes just a man riding on a train en route to what he knows will be a catastrophe to him and his world is enough to make you thank the heavens for a story well told.

Read more IMDb reviews

2 Comments

Be the first to leave a comment