Scandal (Shubun) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Scandal (Shubun) Reviews

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February 26, 2017
Kurosawa frequently deals with addiction and its consequences; the addict is easily bought and sold to feed their need. Thus far, Takashi Shimura has been his go to guy in that role. In Ikiru, it takes him off course from his true purpose in his dying body, and Drunken Angel speaks for itself. Here it's gambling that makes him an easy target for the Amor tabloid establishment. Shimura and Mifune drunk by a dirty pond - where have we seen this before? Kurosawa takes inspiration from himself, but never is it more lovable than in this Christmas scene, when the stars have apparently fallen in the filth and cleansed it like a baptism. The way they stumble around and eventually fall is priceless. This theme of star purity threads itself in the end, that for the first time, Aoe saw a star come into existence through his fallible lawyer, whose arc this story belongs to. Step aside Mifune, you only looked like you were the lead.

The daughter's well-being determined by the darkness her father is dipping in and out of is a beautifully organic device. Her tragedy is what finally gives the lawyer nothing left to live for; defending the truth is fighting for her honor, and he now transforms through her passing. In Ikiru, Shimura is the Christ figure, in Scandal, his daughter is.

I love the holiday setting and the use of the New Year song, Kurosawa framing his subjects through tinsel and ornaments. I should note that I happen to be watching two paparazzi films tonight, this and La Dolce Vita, and they both feature Jingle Bells.

Another staccato, teary, drunk hunchback, brilliantly emotional performance by Shimura, and a bravado, tough, handsome one for Mifune.

The tabloid image of the supposed scandal that fed the whole story is ripped to shreds by wind erosion in the final frame of the film. Winter kicked it's ass.
½ January 24, 2017
Kurosawa brings his kinetic style to this still-current look at celebrities suing a magazine for some slanderous paparazzi photos. It may be in bad taste to attack the media these days, but let's face it, our journalists come in all shapes and sizes, from the most scrupulous to those willing to print unfounded gossip and, yes, "alternative facts". Toshiro Mifune (playing an artist) and Shirley Yamaguchi (playing a singer) are photographed at a spa after an accidental meeting and a magazine ("Amour") plays this up into a love affair and scandal. When they decide to sue, a lawyer (played by the great Takashi Shimura) pleads to take their case because of his heightened sense of justice. However, he proves spineless and easily manipulated by the (evil) publisher. Nevertheless, Mifune and Yamaguchi stick with him out of concern for his dying daughter (she has tuberculosis). For a while, I thought this would be up there with Kurosawa's best but the courtroom scenes allow some of the tension to dissipate. Moreover, it is my problem but I couldn't accept Shimura in this worm-like role after his sympathetic performances in Ikiru, Seven Samurai, and Stray Dog. Still, there is much to enjoy here (particularly the style - and Mifune on that motorcycle!).
½ June 28, 2014
Strange movie. You think the movie is going to be about the artist and the singer, but it gradually becomes more about the lawyer. The sick daughter felt too much like a crutch for the movie.
½ June 20, 2014
Not a bad film by any means, but a relative waste of Mifune's talent in a pretty tame and formulaic script. An early and minor stumble for Kurosawa. Of course if it was anyone else's film we would probably say it was great!
½ March 27, 2014
First of all it's hard for me to rate this properly as the subtitles on the DVD I watched were extremely poor and I had a hard time following dialogue (and many signs were left untranslated). I think I got basically the whole plot though, and I felt like it started strong but a lot of the interesting characters end up being pushed to the side in favour of the fairly insipid courtroom/bribery drama. Kurosawa doesn't seem to realise that the ethical questions he raises about privacy are much more interesting than who wins in court.
½ May 5, 2013
One of the best performances ever is given by Takashi Shimura.
½ December 26, 2012
Being a perfectly consistent and downright expressive man, Akira Kurosawa knew how to approach every fresh topic, no matter how controversial. He had this innate ability that allowed him to transform, with unmistakable ease, each and every one of those topics into impressive and captivating motion pictures. Scandal (Sh√Ľbun) is his darkly satirical effort to unveil the gradual deterioration of the Japanese press industry. Through a somehow unsurprising and bitterly pretentious ‚" yet informative and intense ‚" drama Kurosawa attempted to criticize all the immoral actions of reporters in post-war Japan. For the sake of sensationalism, the private lives of not only celebrities, but even some of the lesser-known citizens, were suddenly deemed invaluable. It seemed as though to catch the attention of the readers is to forget about a human moral code. Writing a story, which might not even be true, was totally all right, and even hurting other people‚(TM)s feelings was on the agenda. Ironically so, all those wrongdoings remain unchanged up to this day in most places in the world.

Scandal proves to be a considerable visualization of a celebrity‚(TM)s worst nightmare. Coincidentally, a well-known beautiful singer Miyako Saijo (Shirley Yamaguchi) meets an aspiring painter Ichiro Aoye (Toshiro Mifune) while he‚(TM)s working on a new painting in the countryside. Moments later, Ichiro offers Miyako a lift on his bike, since they both stay at the same inn. Unfortunately, they are tracked down by a group of paparazzi looking for an exciting story to publish in their tabloid magazine Amour. One random picture and a cover story that insinuates an ongoing romance between the two artists change the pace of the film dramatically. In just a short period of time Ichiro and Miyako become the objects of interest of almost the whole nation (a silly exaggeration, though a efficacious one). To prove them all wrong, irritated Ichiro quickly decides to sue for damages, and in order to do so he hires a clumsy, welcoming, yet secretly perfidious lawyer Hiruta (Takashi Shimura). Though Hiruta convinces Ichiro that he shares his hatred towards the press and its shameful actions, he actually goes behind his client‚(TM)s back and decides to throw the trial, in order to get some money for his sick daughter Masako (Yoko Katsuragi). What‚(TM)s surprising is that even though Ichiro is aware of the position of his disloyal lawyer, he still believes that he will come to his senses and choose the right way. For the sake of sheer entertainment and for Kurosawa‚(TM)s own sense of fulfillment, Hiruta goes through an enlightening transformation and brings about the most satisfying twist in action.

Even though Mifune, with all his suave and charm, comes as the most prominent actor of the movie, it‚(TM)s really worth to mention Yoko Katsaguri‚(TM)s performance. Her character, though bound to bed through the whole movie, is the brightest star of the whole showcase. With her purity, kindness, and plausible sense of judgment she is the source of all-energy and immediately becomes, even in her fragile state, the guardian angel seeking a happy ending.

In the ever-changing media reality people are only looking out for themselves, and that is, in the subtlest sense, a cause of the gradual downfall of humanity as such. People tend to care about material things in the first place; they need to suppress their urges through the misfortune of others. And press ‚" with all its power and attention ‚" creates this deeply superficial world, as we now know it. Scandal, the title of this picture, corresponds not only to the sensations that surround the fictitious love affair, but also to the behavior (though unnecessarily biased) of all the characters connected to the newspaper industry.
½ November 23, 2012
Great movie that's even more relevant today than it was when it was released! Nice to see Mifune in a somewhat different role than we're used to seeing, especially in a Kurosawa pic, and of course he knocks it out of the park.
Just a really well told, well made story. Highly under-appreciated in the Kurosawa lexicon.
April 13, 2012
Its not great... but it is still a Kurosawa film, therefore it is good and watchable.
½ April 10, 2012
A bit of an unfocused early Kurosawa but nonetheless a good film. It's been said that it moralizes too much but, though there certainly is a strong moral message, I can't help but feel that Kurosawa, Mifune, and Shimura's work in this film deals with the moral overtones of the film with grace and brilliance.
Super Reviewer
February 3, 2012
While this isn't top-tier Kurosawa, even his lesser works are solid films full of his talent and the actors that he would make famous! The film features solid performances from both Toshiro Mifune and Takashi Shimura and both fill out their characters nicely. "Scandal" tends to get near and in many cases reaches melodramatic at times but the film has a lot of heart to match it's offbeat comedy and solidly acted screenplay. Any Kurosawa is fine by me and this is no exception!
Super Reviewer
November 18, 2011
The funniest of Kurosawa's films. Takashi Shimura gives some great comic moments which bring a lot of laughter for his character and a lot of compassion as well because it reveals that he is indeed a good person who has succumbed to temptation. Toshiro Mifune gives a fierce performance as a honest and determined artist who tries to bring the corrupt executive and prying eyes of his newspaper company to justice. Well made film about the responsibility of the media that pits the two issues of privacy of individuals versus freedom of the press. An evermore relevant question in today's society where there is an even bigger craze for celebrity gossip. It's flaw is that it is too sentimental, at times predictable, and in the end perhaps formulaic; however it will always be worth the watch for Shimura's very funny performance.
August 31, 2011
A solid film, though this doesn't carry much weight.
November 21, 2010
An excellent early indictment of celebrity journalism. Toshiro Mifune gives one of his best performances. Minor Kurosawa, but even minor Kurosawa is brilliant.
October 9, 2010
A really interesting story about the courage it takes to stand for your convictions. Maybe even the courage to have convictions. Mifune is awesome, as usual, but the real star here is Yoko Katsuragi as his lawyer's daughter. She really makes the emotional part of the story so much more impactful through her subdued/real performance. It felt a bit slow at times, but it built and moved with the same fluidity as all the Kurosawa I've seen so far. I was never bored and he allowed me to absorb the beauty of scenes that needed to last those extra minutes. I'm still in awe at his ability as a storyteller (through his masterful directing and editing.)
½ September 26, 2010
A famous painter and a famous singer is spotted together by the media, and are immediately tagged as a love affair by a famous gossip magazine. The two decide to take action against the publisher, and an honest-in-principle lawyer decides to help them out. But when the publishers try to blackmail the lawyer, the scandal goes even deeper.

The power of the media is so clearly and definitely shown in Kurosawa's "Scandal", a minor work in such a major career, yet so poignant today as it was in 1950. Power, corruption, lies. New Order may have put those 3 together in a title, but Kurosawa deftly puts them together in film.
½ September 24, 2010
A bit disappointing, but still quite good. Although a lot of the flourishes are inimitably Kurosawa, the story itself feels very given to American cliches and constructs. Takashi Shimura is really what makes the film work - he's great in what turns out to be the central role. I think a lack of clarity in the first act really dampens what could have been a more significant film.
½ August 12, 2010
Fremdeles like aktuelt om pressens makt og manglende moral og respekt for privatlivet. Litt uventet er det ikke de saks√łkende kjendisene som er hovedpersonene, men den stakkarslige, litt for heftig sake-drikkende advokaten som dras mellom de svarte pengene fra sladdrepressen og sin "samvittighet"- den tuberkulosesyke, d√łdende, "synske" datteren. Gode skuespillere, og ryddig og greit fortalt. En av Kurosawas kortere filmer :)
½ August 11, 2010
While I can appreciate the exploration of the flexible morals here, I was never fully engaged by this one, for whatever reason. Not saying that it was a bad film (far from it), I just never found myself truly sympathetic to the characters involved, particularly the weak, whiny lawyer representing the slandered parties.

Worth a look, maybe you'll get more out of it than I did.
½ June 11, 2010
A disappointing follow-up to the almost flawless ‚??Stray Dog‚??, ‚??Scandal‚?? seems to misfire on almost every point it pursues. The typically marvelous Toshir√ī Mifune is underused, perhaps even misguided, in his role as a stubborn artist caught up in a paparazzi scandal with a famous singer. The only glimmer of hope for the film lies with Takashi Shimura‚??s lawyer who has his fair share of demons due to an unsatisfactory past and dying daughter. His performance grounds the bland story, but does not give it even the slightest push even in the hopeful conclusion. Akira Kurosawa was supposedly inspired to pursue this film because of his own disgust with the paparazzi, which resonates now more than ever with today‚??s society. However, his apparent detestation of such a line of work, seen in abrasive journalism, clouds any potential for a coherent story or stimulated aesthetic in technique.
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