Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Bad Sleep Well (1960)

THE BAD SLEEP WELL
DIRECTED BY: AKIRA KUROSAWA
WRITTEN BY: AKIRA KUROSAWA, HIDEO OGUNI, EIJIRO HISAITA, RYUZO KIKUSHIMA, & SHINOBU HASHIMOTO

OVERALL SCORE: 8.00/10

Company secretary, Koichi Nishi (Toshiro Mifune), has just married the young daughter of Public Corp Vice President Iwabuchi (Masayuki Mori), who is currently dealing with a fraud investigation. While Nishi is seemingly a strong minded aspiring businessmen, he secretly aspires for only one thing: revenge.

"They starved you and my father with scraps from their table, killed you as scapegoats, and still you can't hate them"

Kurosawa's oft overlooked tale of revenge, and the consequences of it, The Bad Sleep Well is a powerful, deep, and thrilling entry to the director's canon. Riddled with layers, well executed characters, and emotions a mile deep, this tale has just about everything you can want.

Often drawn parallels with the Shakespeare tale: Hamlet, The best thing The Bad Sleep Well has going for it is pure talent. Each actor either a seasoned veteran, or would soon become one, with each writer a Kurosawa pinnacle partner. Then you have the direction. Here Kurosawa goes straight old school thrills and noir. It's quick and slow. It throws the plot right at you, and then allows the characters to evolve. Oozes in dramatic irony, and really takes advantage of it to hit you in the emotional gut. It's such a captivating tale, it's a shame it's overshadowed by the similarly featured, and far superior, High and Low.

Still Kurosawa fans, and general movie going public alike, can find much to be excited about here. Mifune is dynamic, and Mori is as villainous as anyone dare be. Kyoko Kagawa, as the executive's fragile (physically) daughter, is simply breathtaking. Her final scene will connect with you on an entirely different level. Shimura, Kato, and the rest of the supporting cast perfectly hold their own as well. The way they develop makes this such an exciting tale, I often wonder why it doesn't get as much love.

The Bad Sleep Well is a captivating, dark, dramatic irony ridden tale that'll entertain and surprise the viewer from beginning to end. Sure it could use some fine tuning, but overall it's so well made, I think it would just be glorified nit-picking.

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Alternate Perspectives:

"If you’re a fan of films like The Departed then this is a must watch. Not the greatest Kurosawa film out there but definitely a good one." - GmanReviews

1 better thoughts:

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

This one sounds very good. I especially like the name.

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