Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Based on King's Ransom, an "87th Precinct" novel by Ed McBain (aka Evan Hunter), High and Low stars Toshiro Mifune as Gondo, a wealthy industrialist. Gondo is contacted by a gang of kidnappers, who inform him that they've kidnapped his son. The crooks demand a huge ransom for the boy's return -- an amount so huge that it will utterly bankrupt Gondo. As the harried businessman prepares to pay the ransom, he discovers that his son is safe at home: the kidnappers have accidentally snatched the son of his chauffeur. Does Gondo drop his payoff plans, or does he do the honorable thing and rescue his employee's son? This dilemma is but one aspect of the multilayered character study from the unbeatable team of star Toshiro Mifune and filmmaker Akira Kurosawa, who directs this superb film with his usual depth and impeccable eye for detail and character. As a man forced to make impossible decisions, Mifune gives a nuanced, perceptive and psychologically convincing performance. While not one of Kurosawa's master works, High and Low, with its grim reality and moral ambiguity stands as a superb example of film noir at its best. High and Low was originally released in Japan as Tengoku To-Jigoku.
blackmail, family, kidnapping, life-choices, maniac, mistaken-identity, police, prison, ransom, rescue
High Artistic Quality