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High and Low(天国と地獄)

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Japan · 1963
2h 22m
Director Akira Kurosawa
Starring Toshirō Mifune, Tatsuya Nakadai, Kyōko Kagawa, Tatsuya Mihashi
Genre Crime, Drama, Mystery, Thriller

In this crime thriller, a wealthy executive already struggling to keep control of his company finds himself the victim of an extortion plot after his chauffeur’s son is kidnapped and held for ransom. He is forced to choose between paying to save the child or keeping control of his company.

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What are critics saying?


The New York Times by A.O. Scott

A sizzling, artistic crackerjack and a model of its genre, pegged on a harassed man's moral decision, laced with firm characterizations and tingling detail and finally attaining an incredibly colorful crescendo of microscopic police sleuthing.


Empire by David Parkinson

This lesser known Kurosawa feature is worth a look, with outstanding performances and stunning cinematography.


Slant Magazine by Glenn Heath Jr.

High and Low is a masterful cinematic elevator connecting two warring social perspectives, finding a common ground between them in the pressurized corners of the classic crime drama.


The A.V. Club by Keith Phipps

While not a masterpiece on par with Kurosawa's best work, High And Low is a fine example of his craft, and further proof that it's not a few masterpieces but the overall scope of a career that defines a great director.


Los Angeles Times by Kevin Thomas

Structurally, High and Low, which is remarkable in many ways--the camera work alone could serve as a primer in film technique--is quite a departure for Kurosawa.


The Dissolve by Mike D'Angelo

Few movies have ever been as subtly, methodically composed as High And Low, in which every shot reflects, to some degree, the dichotomy presented by its title.


Paste Magazine by Oktay Ege Kozak

The most tension-filled ransom exchange sequence ever filmed works perfectly as the midpoint break between the two halves, which eventually begin to converge as a potent study on the psychological effects of income inequality disguised as a straight genre piece.

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