Hakuchi (The Idiot)

Critics Consensus

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70%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 10

73%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 1,953
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Movie Info

A former soldier is branded an idiot because of his epileptic seizures caused by wartime experiences. He shows unbridled compassion for people after he moves in with friends of his family as he tries to help a young man ruined by the war and a woman hounded by a wealthy but cruel suitor. All the characters are victims of the war and its devastating emotional aftershocks. Taken from Feodor Dostoyevsky's classic novel, the screenplay was written by the film's director, Akira Kurosawa.

Cast

Masayuki Mori
as Kinji Kameda
Setsuko Hara
as Taeko Nasu
Toshiro Mifune
as Denkichi Akama
Yoshiko Kuga
as Ayako Uno
Mitsuyo Akashi
as Akama's Mother
Minoru Chiaki
as Mutsuo Kayama
Chieko Higashiyama
as Satoki Ono, the Mother
Kokuten Kodo
as Jyunpei
Eiko Miyoshi
as Kayama's Mother
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Critic Reviews for Hakuchi (The Idiot)

All Critics (10) | Fresh (7) | Rotten (3)

Audience Reviews for Hakuchi (The Idiot)

  • Nov 18, 2011
    Having read Dostoevsky's novels, it would be very difficult for me to even imagine how to adapt one of them into a film and still have the essence of Dostoevsky's writing. Kurosawa's film, cut against his wishes, has a very gothic element which remains in memory long after having seen it. The acting style is very different from all of his other films. It is very restrained, which allows the sudden and unexpected outbursts to have effect. There is an overall sombre, gloomy, and ominous atmosphere which definitely establishes that 'gothic' feeling I got from the film. The cold winter and abundant snow provide the perfect setting for a film which intends to show how cold and dark the human world has become. This film is an achievement in style and cinematography, containing a lot of magnificent shots and is a further testament to Kurosawa's continued grasp of his craft in that point of his career. It is a shame that Kurosawa's original 4-hour cut does not exist, but this film has it's great moments which make me so angry at the studios who cut his films (and at studios in general, whose money-hungry producers cut quantity, in favour of pleasing feeble-minded audiences, and do away with quality as well in that process. Would you cut Wagner's operas to appease time limits? Would you cut Faulkner's Sound and Fury because it is too long? However, this is a topic for another time and place). Unfortunately, as the film is, it is difficult to sit through and frankly unbearable at some parts. The film was too focused on a love story and I have a feeling (from watching his other films) that Kurosawa's version would have been more about just that and presented it much more realistically and complexly. The relationship between Akama and Taeko seemed to be confusing and contrived, which is something that should have been built up a little instead of forcing it. A number of relationships in the film were unclear and seemed 'put together' or arranged, not organic at all. This again is just a guess, but Kurosawa's original would have been a lot more different. It was particularly the ending of the film that seemed to carry no weight whatsoever and felt contrived to me. Kurosawa's 4-hour version might have been considered one of his masterpieces along with the film that he made after it (Rashomon) and the film that came after that (Ikiru). It would've added yet more glory to the works of Kurosawa as a whole and might've been the best Dostoevsky adaptation ever made. Things did not turn out this way, and we are forced to dream of what this film might have been.
    G S Super Reviewer
  • Sep 12, 2011
    Kurosawa masterfully orchestrates an idealistic approach to Dostoyevsky's bewildering novel with extraordinary visuals of unusual depth (unusual by the time, that is) and a perpetrating and sometimes disturbing environment, and all thanks to a character traumatized by circumstances beyond his reach and the irreversible emotional effects he magically executes around him. A great, early cast brings along excellent performances in the director's most terribly underrated film. Now it seems I have two movies to ask God to lend me in their full versions when I go to Heaven. 99/100
    Edgar C Super Reviewer
  • Jun 09, 2011
    Full Review Coming Soon!
    Chris B Super Reviewer
  • May 05, 2011
    A terrific masterpiece by Kurosawa.
    Lucas M Super Reviewer

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