The Bad Sleep Well

1960, Drama/Crime, 2h 24m

20 Reviews 5,000+ Ratings

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Movie Info

In this loose adaptation of "Hamlet," illegitimate son Kôichi Nishi (Toshirô Mifune) climbs to a high position within a Japanese corporation and marries the crippled daughter (Kyôko Kagawa) of company vice president Iwabuchi (Masayuki Mori). At the reception, the wedding cake is a replica of their corporate headquarters, but an aspect of the design reminds the party of the hushed-up death of Nishi's father. It is then that Nishi unleashes his plan to avenge his father's death.

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Critic Reviews for The Bad Sleep Well

Audience Reviews for The Bad Sleep Well

  • Jul 02, 2019
    Come for the reworking of "Hamlet" in 1960s corporate Japan, stay for the tension filled Noir atmosphere.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Apr 18, 2013
    My first experience with a non period Kurosawa is no less watchable than any of his other films. You could take the issues of corporate corruption and place it within any era and have the themes still be relevant. Another timeless masterpiece.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Nov 28, 2011
    The film that inspired the wedding scene of The Godfather, and hailed "as perfect as it gets" by Francis Ford Coppola, was a hard movie to rate. A second viewing really helped put this movie into perspective. It was not a hard film to rate because it's awful or anything. I just kept going back and forth on whether its perfect or not. It's a very gripping psychological noir film by Kurosawa. But I felt it was not in the league of his masterpieces like Rashomon, Ikiru, or Seven Samurai. I think this is because at first the film is very slow, with the opening wedding scene being used as a means to introduce the characters and attempting to explain a bit of the shady deals between a government branch and a construction company. While being a strong commentary on corruption and the 'system' under which corporate world works, this film's main focus is it's at first mysterious groom Nishi (played by Toshiro Mifune with great refinement and restraint). He marries the daughter of a high official. The plot contains influences of Shakespeare's Hamlet, but is not completely faithful to the play. It is still a great movie nonetheless, with classic existential overtones which were seen in Kurosawa earlier films like The Idiot and Lower Depths. The atmosphere is a different one however as the film is set in contemporary modern day Japan (in 1960). Backed by good acting performances (a memorably villainous one by Takashi Shimura) and Kurosawa's excellent direction with lighting certain scenes (the scene in the office with Wada and Shirai comes to mind, where a flashlight is used to illuminate the characters). Kurosawa tells a unique story, which unfortunately seemed to be a little ambitious because at times the talking and explaining got a little tiresome. The great ending leaves me wondering if justice had been served. (plot spoiler) On the surface it seems that justice has not been served because of Nishi's outcome and the result of all his efforts. But in the end, Kurosawa does show Tatsuo and Yoshiko condemn and leave Iwabuchi for what he's done, so perhaps he got what he deserved by losing his two children. Or, on the other hand, it doesn't bother him at all and indeed the Bad will sleep soundly like the title states. This complex ending that the film arrives at certainly makes it a great film.
    G S Super Reviewer
  • Sep 18, 2011
    Kurosawa directs in a tale of corporate corruption and revenge, it comes together well, borrowing heavily from shakespeare it has been said, especially hamlet, something hes done before. never boreing and story moves along greatly
    scott g Super Reviewer

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