OTB#72: Ikiru

Hey! It’s a Kurosawa movie without samurais? Hm! I’m wondering whether I’ve seen anything like this before… Yeah, like No Regrets For Our Youth. Which wasn’t particularly good.

I read a tweet the other day that panned some well-liked movie and there was a reply from somebody that said something like “it takes a lot of guts to criticise something so famous”, which just blew my mind. Like… guts how? In my opinion, there’s little point in reiterating a consensus opinion — that’s just tedious. And it’s way scarier to slate something non-famous, because then your (probably wrong) opinion is the only one out there.

So here goes: Kurosawa sucks.

There. I said it. Let the healing begin.

And as usual with Kurosawa, nothing’s particularly wrong about the movie, but everything is solidly pedestrian: The cinematography seems to consist of… well, just having the camera guy take random shots, without much thought for framing or mise-en-scène.

The plot (a guy who is dying from cancer and partying/coming to terms with his wasted life) is a huge cliché.

The acting is as subtle as cement mixer.

So who voted for this?

Mostly younger directors? Huh. (And Martin Scorsese.) And it’s not in the critics’ top 100.

Heh. This is on a list of ten most overrated films at the Telegraph.

Oops! Spoilers! Tsk tsk.

Total pantomime.

If you compare with Ozu’s movies from around the same time (dealing with many of the same themes), this is just embarrassing.

And just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse… it does!

Up until the guy dies (oops spoilers) the movie is tolerable, but then there’s another hour of bureaucrats arguing about stuff, and it’s just distilled tedium. Kurosawa probably meant for this to be a biting commentary of bureaucracy, I guess, but it’s just… awful.

Hey! There’s one single negative review on Rottentomatoes.

The last seven hours of this are risibly awful (), but the first nine hours were just normal dopey stuff (), so let’s even that out to:

生きる. Akira Kurosawa. 1952.

This blog post is part of the Officially The Best 2022 series.

One thought on “OTB#72: Ikiru”

  1. Last year’s “Living” is a remake of this with Bill Nighy who got an Oscar nomination out of it. I liked it better than Kurosawa’s. It’s the same movie, set in London after WWII, and an hour shorter.

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