Criterion Year Week 56: High and Low

The Criterion Collection, the last vestige of truly collectible DVD and Blu-Ray movies in existence. These are well produced, fancy pants editions of important and interesting films for the discerning film lover.

We continue our journey through Jim's collection of movies with...

High and Low

Spine Number: 24

Director: Akira Kurosawa

Genre: Drama


So, we take a jump back in the spine numbers because this is a new addition to the collection, and damn... what an addition it is. 

There is an inherent and undeniable drama to the kidnapping/ransom genre. I mean, a child is missing and there is no question that they are in harms way. But just having the drama doesn't automatically make the story powerful or compelling or, for that matter, good. It takes so much more.

And, since we are talking about Kurosawa, High and Low delivers so much more.


On the eve of a massive business deal, a self made millionaire gets a phone call. His child has beeen abducted and the ransom is 30 million yen. The amount is absurdly high, and will cause not just his deal to fall through, but also completely ruin him financially as he has leveraged everything he has for the deal.

The kicker... the kidnapper got the wrong child, grabbing his chauffers kid instead. Now, Kingo Gondo (played masterfully by Toshiro Mifune, becuase that's the only speed that man posessess) has a choice to make. Does he risk the financial well being of his family to save someone elses child.

A movie that works as a series of tightening nooses, High and Low is one of the most complete films in this genre. You get the tension of the parents, you get the amazing ransom delivery, you get the intense investigation, you get the kidnapper trying to stay one step ahead... basically you get Kurosawa at his best.


So, join us again for another look at one of the greatest of all time.



Next week,  

 Spine number 36: The Wages of Fear

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Looks like Summer Movie League has officially become Fantasy Movie League.

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Thanks for listening, and until next week...

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