Cure (1997)

Genres - Thriller  |   Sub-Genres - Crime Thriller, Police Detective Film, Psychological Thriller  |   Release Date - Jul 27, 2001 (USA - Limited)  |   Run Time - 111 min.  |   Countries - Japan   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Kiyoshi Kurosawa's moody, dark look at copycat murders in Japan is considered by many to be his greatest achievement, but Cure requires extreme patience to accept its languid style of storytelling. Furthermore, the effort proves somewhat futile when the viewer finds that there is little to relate to in the story: while the director's tone has an abundance of atmosphere and a few quality chills, there isn't much humanity, and the terror-laden subject doesn't resonate quite the way it should. Koji Yakusho elevates the difficult narrative with a believable portrayal of a conflicted man consumed by his work, but the character's motives remain puzzling -- which may indeed be the film's point but is dissatisfying nonetheless. Ultimately, Cure is an ambitious effort that is likely to find a cult audience, but also likely to be misunderstood by mainstream viewers, who may find its odd hybrid of philosophy and horror troubling. This feature was completed in 1997 and appeared as part of a retrospective of the director's career at the 1999 Toronto International Film Festival before its stateside release in 2001.