Daily Archives: November 3, 2013

High and Low (1963)

high and low

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 7 out of 10

4-Word Review: Pay ransom go bankrupt.

Kingo (Toshiro Mifune) is an executive of a shoe company who finds out that his chauffeur’s son has been kidnapped and comes under tremendous pressure to pay the ransom even it will make him bankrupt.

As with all of Akira Kurosawa’s films the production values are solid and the story is well paced. The very methodical police work and investigation is interesting and enlightening. It’s certainly nothing like today’s CSI shows, but well done for its period. The ending scene where Mifune faces the kidnapper leaves a strong and memorable impression.

However, on the negative side the set-up to the kidnapping happens too quickly without any type of buildup or tension. Almost the entire first hour takes place inside the living room of Kingo’s hilltop house and it would’ve helped to have some cutaways to other locales.  Mifune, who is billed as the star and gives a great performance disappears during the second hour only to finally reappear at the very end and I felt it would’ve been stronger had he been involved more in the investigation. Also, the revealing of the kidnapper is unexciting and a big letdown.  I had a hard time understanding why a guy who was so very crafty and sophisticated in every facet of his planning of the kidnapping would suddenly get so conveniently dumb and sloppy at the very end.

This is a decent Kurosawa entry, but in my opinion not one of his best. Yet it is still good enough to keep you captivated from beginning to end.

My Rating: 7 out of 10

Released: March 1, 1963

Runtime: 2Hours 23Minutes

Not Rated

Director: Akira Kurosawa

Studio: The Toho Company

Available: DVD, Blu-ray (The Criterion Collection)