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Movie Info

Toshiro Mifune stars as a wealthy industrialist whose family becomes the target of a ruthless kidnapper in Akira Kurosawa's exemplary film noir. Based on Ed McBain's detective novel "King's Ransom," "High and Low" is both a riveting thriller and a brilliant commentary on contemporary Japanese society.

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Critic Reviews for High and Low

All Critics (20) | Top Critics (3) | Fresh (19) | Rotten (1)

Audience Reviews for High and Low

  • Feb 18, 2020
    It's an ingeniously constructed thriller. Kurosawa's obsession with the small details here pay off in unexpected ways (i.e. the single use of color in an otherwise black and white film).
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Apr 20, 2016
    Akira Kurosawa is one of the greatest film directors in the history of cinema, his films have endured such legacies that often times his films are so highly regarded that even those who wish to hate his films for their popularity and influence can't find themselves to do so. In his 1963 crime film "High and Low," guilt drives many of the characters into doing what is the right thing to do even if they wish not to. Kingo Gondo (Toshiro Mifune) has a splendid house that overlooks the city in which he lives, causing great envy among all who live below in the valley. He has dedicated his life to National Shoe Company and is on the board of directors. When three other members of the board of directors want to recruit him to vote an older man off the board to make cheaper shoes to reap more financial reward, Gondo rebuffs. Gondo visualizes a quality shoe that would not return much profit in the short term but eventually in time, show great rewards while saving the company. This angers the other members as they leave his house in anger. Gondo then reveals to his wife and closest associate that he has slowly been buying stock in the National Shoe Company and has just mortgaged everything for 30 million yen to buy more, he would then have 48% of the company's stock. But before he can carry out this plan he receives a phone call stating his son had been kidnapped and they are demanding that very same price. Gondo is quick to want to pay the ransom to get his son back before he realizes that the kidnapper kidnapped his chauffeur's son instead and now he has reserves about paying the ransom. Eventually after a lot of discussion and guilt he agrees and the kid is returned to his father. The first hour of the film all takes place inside one room in Gondo's large house before going to different locations around the city as the police, who feel bad for Gondo because he's now in debt, start to look for the kidnapper to bring him to justice. A masterfully told crime drama that moves quickly.
    Joseph B Super Reviewer
  • Jan 23, 2013
    A botched kidnapping can make for a taut thriller as Kurosawa proves in this fluid tale, years and years before CSI or any number of police procedurals (seemly broadcast hourly of late). The chase is the thing here, and Mifune's role, though central, is not the only game in town by any means. Very enjoyable watching the Toyko police go after their man.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
  • Jan 16, 2012
    Managed to hit the lows more than highs for me. The storyline wasn't gripping or interesting enough, although its main flaw being that for most of the time, it seemed as if the actors were supposed to look their part/character more rather than acting one. I'm no Kurosowa fan, but did enjoy Rashomon and had fair expectations from this one owing to that experience. Obviously being a Kurosowa flick didn't help any in sitting through this 140+ minutes long dramatic thriller.
    familiar s Super Reviewer

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