I Live in Fear (1955, Akira Kurosawa Drama) – 6/10 movie review

Cast / crew
Producer: Seijiro Motoki
Writer (Screenplay): Akira Kurosawa
Writer (Screenplay): Hideo Oguni
Writer (Screenplay): Shinobo Hashimoto
Toshiro Mifune: Kiichi Nakajima
Director: Akira Kurosawa

I Live in Fear (1955)

Successful businessman Kiichi Nakajima wants to move his extended family from Japan to Brazil where they will all be safe from death by nuclear bombs. His family don’t want to go but need to have him declared non compis mentis in order to stop him. Needless to say, this causes some friction.


Thought-provoking drama which recognises that the most intriguing moral dilemma is one where both sides are right and both sides are wrong. Mifune’s patriarch is going to uproot his family and take them to the presumed safety of Brazil very much against the wishes of his family but is that insanity? The film then continues to look at the crippling effects of fear; it can drive you out of your mind. Mifune, playing much older (he was thirty-five), is outstanding throughout. His hair make-up is a bit obvious but his performance is utterly convincing. Perhaps the key to his conveying such energy on-screen is that he never stops moving whether by fidgeting or rocking or fiddling with something; he never stops moving. Nobody seethes on-screen like Toshiro Mifune.

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

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