DirkH’s review published on Letterboxd:
One of my many unwatched classics.
I am going to use the most undeserving word to describe this film, but I can't think of another. Mesmerizing.
It is absolutely amazing how perfect a feat of storytelling this is. There are a lot of present day directors who can learn a lot about how to structure and pace a story. All they have to do is watch this masterpiece.
Kurosawa's plays with perspective, without losing sight of the central story or themes. And there is a lot to digest here. It is so much more than a story about crime told from different perspectives. That, in itself, could have been enough, but this film adds a striking and appealing philosophical depth that makes it into the classic masterpiece that it is.
It constructs and deconstructs moral ambiguity, the nature of good and evil and the essence of man. It does so in a seemingly simple way and it certainly isn't obvious from the start just how deep this film is willing to dig. The final scenes provide the string that ties it all together and shows us faith, hope, despair and redemption in both dialogue and image. Truly stunning.
My absolute favourite sequence is the one with the medium. It requires a good deal of suspension of disbelief as it is thrust upon you matter-of-factly. But it is acted and shot beautifully. Haunting without being scary.
This is a profound film from which it is impossible to take your eyes off.