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.

6/10

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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The Bad Sleep Well (1960, Corporate and Political Corruption Akira Kurosawa Drama) – 7/10 movie review

Cast / crew
Producer: Tomoyuki Tanaka
Producer: Akira Kurosawa
Writer: Hideo Oguni
Writer: Eijiro Hisaita
Writer: Akira Kurosawa
Writer: Ryuzo Kikushima
Writer: Shinobu Hashimoto
Toshiro Mifune: Nishi
Director: Akira Kurosawa

Bad Sleep Well, The (1960)

The guests at a wedding of a chief executive’s daughter are politely astonished when the party receives a cake reminding them of the suicide of a company executive five years earlier and some of his guests are arrested as part of a police investigation into high-level political and corporate corruption.

7/10

While arguably a bit too long, this eventually gripping movie delivers solid characters and a fine story rather well. It seems to take a while to get through a scene-setting and deliberately uncomfortable wedding but once Toshiro Mifune takes centre stage, the story really starts to intrigue and the remaining time flies by. The very ending will take you by surprise (SPOILER the baddie arranges himself a sweet vacation in line with the title The Bad Sleep Well, i.e., he gets away with it). Special mention for the Criterion DVD art (shown alongside) which fits in brilliantly with the movie.

This movie contains mild adult dialogue and inferred substance abuse and mild violence.

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.