When I saw the Sight & Sound list of Top 50 films I was surprised at how few of them I'd seen. So this is a series of posts where I'll watch as many of these films as I can and share my findings with you. Most importantly, are these movies only relevant to film geeks, or will an average bloke like me find anything in them to enjoy? You can see the other reviews here.
I've already seen two other Kurosawa films (The Seven Samurai which I liked and Ikiru which I adored) so I had high expectations. I knew this was about witnesses giving evidence about a crime and they all tell conflicting stories.
Why is it on the list?
Is it possible that Kurosawa would be in the top 10 if his vote wasn't split by Seven Samurai and Rashomon? It seems very likely. Certainly there seems little doubt that Kurosawa has influenced many modern, western directors
Where can I see it?
I saw the version on archive.org that I can't recommend because the audio is out of sync and then it chops off the last five minutes! I then had to find it on YouTube so I could watch the end. If you're looking for it I know that it's available on iTunes and elsewhere.
What's it about?
A woodcutter walks through the forest and discovers a man who has been killed. Two days later all the witnesses are called to 'court' (or whatever it is) to recount their version of events. All of their versions differ.
Is it just for film geeks?
Absolutely not. This film is fast paced and there is never a dull moment. It may be artfully made but it is not an art film. Ultimately I think anyone who goes in with an open mind should enjoy this.
Entertainment value out of ten?
I think this is just a fantastic film. It's certainly one of the strongest pieces of story telling I've seen in the top 50 so far. There is never a single dull moment, every single frame either sets the tone or tells the tale. Fantastic stuff. 10/10.
Would I watch it again?