June 19, 2004

Stray Dog by Akira Kurosawa, 1949 ; the criterion collection

one of Akira Kurosawa's earlier films. i'd never heard of it until Criterion thought of adding it to their collection. this one is a police drama. a rookie cop (Toshiro Mifune - yay!) gets his gun stolen and retraces his steps over several days to get it back. Kurosawa split off his point-of-view onto two different characters - Mifune's Murakami and Takashi Shimura's detective Sato. and the thing is, what with Mifune becoming the legend that he's become, it's Shimura's quiet, contemplative portrayal of the wiser detective that takes your attention [ time to check out his imdb credits: he's also in Kurosawa's Yojimbo, Sanjuro, and High and Low. and he's in Red Beard!! woohoo! i got that one but haven't watched it yet. ooh, Hidden Fortress.. :) also got that one. he was in Throne of Blood??? ...Seven Samurai. Ikiru! :) ...Rashomon. well. i'm in for a treat, aren't i? i always thought Kurosawa's actor was Mifune but i guess he's also got another fetish actor with Shimura. i'm blown away right now ]. the film takes place during one mother of a heatwave (which Kurosawa brilliantly translates onto the film) while the two cops try to find out in which hands the gun might have fallen. while Murakami's plight is interesting (the gun might be used in current crimes), he seems to be much more torn about it than i was; which made the Sato character that better suited to follow and connect with. the first half of the movie plays almost like a silent film, with a score playing quietly in the background. even though nothing major happens during much of the film, Kurosawa always keeps it compelling and moving along. i didn't think this film would be up-to-par with Kurosawa's other, more well-known, films. but i was wrong. dead wrong. even though it's quiet, this is one captivating film. and i have no qualms about positively recommending this as a rental to anyone interested in spending two hours with a good film - and a definite buy for Criterion lovers.

np: manitoba, up in flames

Posted by Sam | 9:54 AM |