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At last, Cure!!



At last, Cure!!
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Rob
Doraemon


Joined: 06 Apr 2009
Posts: 15

PostPosted: Sun Apr 11, 2010 11:26 pm    Post subject: At last, Cure!! Reply with quote
Been waiting for this ever since I first heard about Kiyoshi Kurosawa some 6-7 years ago. I knew about the R1 but held off figuring a PAL version would arrive sooner rather than later. Boy, was I ever wrong! Chris kindly replied to an inquiry on my part last year saying there'd been a delay so I'd pretty much written this off but checking on my favourite Australian etailer the other day & what do I find - finally - Cure, available & up for order!

All I can say is, I hope it lives up to expectations but having loved so much of KK's work I doubt I'll be disappointed. And well done to Madman for getting this out.

Btw, what are the prospects for any of the other KK titles? I'm thinking of the likes of Bright Future, Charisma, etc?

Trivia note; for those of you who've seen the rather excellent Japanese ghost story Reincarnation (also a Madman release), are my eyes deceiving me or is that Kiyoshi Kurosawa in a blink & you'll miss him cameo as the university lecturer? It sure looks like the guy.
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Chris
Madman Staff


Joined: 15 Oct 2003
Posts: 676
Location: Melbourne VIC, Australia

PostPosted: Fri Apr 23, 2010 5:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Hi Rob, I'd be interested to hear what you think of Cure as it's now out on the shelves here. Definitely one of my favourite Japanese films. That is indeed KK as the lecturer in Reincarnation - good eye! To my greatest surprise, I actually bumped in to the director in a elevator last October. Recognising him from photos I just politely said hello and introduced myself. He was a very pleasant chap.

One time I was speaking with Director Bong Joon-ho (The Host, Mother) and he mentioned that KK was one of his favourite directors and big inspiration to him.

In case you're unaware, we also have Kairo (Pulse) and Retribution available on DVD. The latter is quite interesting as it feels somewhat like a remake of Cure.

I'll let you know of any further KK films being released.
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Rob
Doraemon


Joined: 06 Apr 2009
Posts: 15

PostPosted: Fri Apr 30, 2010 9:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Chris wrote:
Hi Rob, I'd be interested to hear what you think of Cure as it's now out on the shelves


Hi Chris!Very Happy

Well ... An intriguing, unsettling & enigmatic slow burn thriller. This is the story of a detective who investigates a series of gruesome slayings carried out by random strangers, the one link being an 'X' carved into the bodies of the victims. When a young man is arrested it turns out his remarkable powers of suggestion may be responsible.

With this pic even more than Pulse, a movie with its own fair share of ambiguities, Kurosawa seems intent on forcing the viewer to work in order to put the pieces together. For some, Kurosawa's elliptical narrative & deliberate pacing will be an obvious turn off but if you're receptive to this kind of approach it can be rewarding & it's certainly a film not easily forgotten. In fact the more you mull it over the more you want to go back & watch Cure again just to see if your initial assumptions hold up.

Kurosawa demonstrates here an unmatched ability to convey a sense of palpable dread in the most banal of circumstances. A routine hospital check up in which a female GP is hypnotized by the suspect into murder using nothing more than a spilled cup of water is quite brilliant in its metaphorical implications. A scene in which the detective finishes a pleasant meal in a cafe & lights up a cigarette, while a waitress clears his things away before retreating to pick up a very sharp & very large knife, is creepy as hell after what we've seen. You sense from the very start that there's something dreadfully amiss with the scene but you're not sure what it is. Perhaps it has something to do with the sight of the detective having enjoyed a hearty meal when in an earlier scene at the same restaurant - saddled with work & domestic problems - he couldn't even begin to eat. What's changed in his life, you wonder? Likewise an early scene with the dryer wherein the detective comes home, turns it off, his wife turns it back on so he turns it off again - all without a word of explanation between them leaves us to ponder the meaning. By the end of the film it becomes clear what that was actually saying about the state of their relationship. That said I'm still not sure about those scenes of him & his wife in the bus with the clouds behind them. Was that in some way a dream or wish on the detectives part (if it was then it's an idea explored at greater length in Retribution)?

Few directors working today have as good a sense of how to use interior & exterior space as Kurosawa. Without ever being flashy he somehow turns the locations into reflections of the pressures festering in the minds of the characters. The rotting buildings, the plastic sheets draped over some half-built structure & behind which something unpleasant may be lurking .. the sense of figures moving through through a foreboding & unsettling physical environment ... the desolate landscapes of the mind made real.

Appearances are so deceptive in this film. We can't be sure that what we think is going on, really is & subtle, little details are in retrospect far more revealing than we might at first suppose. That in itself is a tribute to a story about the power of suggestion & it's aided in no small part by Kurosawa's marvellous dialogue, particularly that of the villain whose maddeningly circular exchanges with his victims take on the aspect of a chant, a mantra. Like the cobra's sway it's a way of lulling his victims into a trance so he can strike. By the time the interrogation scenes between cop & suspect come up we're on the edge of our seat wondering of the villain may subliminally hypnotize the detective into killing his comrades or worse, his wife.

There's a lot more to Cure than this bald description but Kurosawa's fascinating film is less an entry in the standard hunt-the-serial-killer vein - although it has its share of gruesome killings, police interrogations & the like - than it is an exploration of the theme of identity with a deceptive sleigh of hand on the part of its talented writer/director. It's a story in which the nominal hero, a weary detective shouldering the burden of a sick wife, ultimately supplants the villain as the inheritor of a magical incantation that can persuade a person into killing & who uses it to solve his unhappy domestic life. This makes for a startling ending & one that pulls the rug out from under the viewer, forcing you to reassess everything you've just seen.

In its possible introduction of the supernatural into the real world - not psychology, not science but magic - & the way what we'd thought of as good people seize it & make use of it for their own ends, Cure reminds me a little of the early novels of the American author Jonathan Carroll. At any rate it's certainly a movie you should see. Just don't expect a standard serial killer entry. That's not Kurosawa's way.

Madman's long-awaited (at least by me!) DVD is pretty barebones but scores where it counts most with a pristine native PAL transfer with English subs (the only one available anywhere in the world) & a flawless encoding. The only extra is Cure's thearical trailer & a handful of other trailer titles from Madman's 'Eastern Eye' range. Shame they couldn't licence the 20 min director interview on the R1 disc as KK's thoughts would be genuinely interesting. Still, strongly recommended. Very Happy Very Happy
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Chris
Madman Staff


Joined: 15 Oct 2003
Posts: 676
Location: Melbourne VIC, Australia

PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2010 6:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Wow, awesome review dude - thanks!!

For me, it's quite an examination of what it takes for a person to become a monster (foreshadowed by the reading of Bluebeard in the opening scene). I'd be interested to know if he was any influence on Korean director Park Chan-wook (Oldboy) as every film he has made, with the possible exception of JSA and I'm A Cyborg, has been examining ordinary people who become monsters.
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