High and Low: An analysis of Akira Kurosawa’s meticulously crafted cat-and-mouse thriller

Projected Perspectives


In their penultimate film together as director and muse, Akira Kurosawa cast Toshiro Mifune as Kingo Gondo, an executive of a shoe company who is caught in an extremely challenging moral crisis. It all begins with a phone call from an unseen psychopath who claims to have kidnapped his son and demands a ransom of 30 million yen. But after a while, everyone except the kidnapper realizes that the missing boy is not Gondo’s, but his chauffeur’s. Kurosawa establishes all these elements with clockwork precision. It’s obvious that the director had mapped out a carefully planned strategy as to how and when each development has to take place. I have actually checked the slider on my media player and was fascinated by what I saw.


Kurosawa uses the opening 15 minutes to show us a corporate drama in progress. Gondo has called up meeting with his three board of directors…

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