Scandal (1950)

I’ve seen complaints that Kurosawa movies can get frustratingly melodramatic and morally didactic before, but I’ve never really noticed it, nor has it bothered me, even if his early propaganda films. Well, I’m disappointed to say I’ve finally had the same thing bother me, with this film, Scandal.

Perhaps it’s because his earlier films covered cultural ideas and settings that were more alien to me, so I was fascinated by them rather than finding them repetive or maudlin or anything. But the insiodious nature of the paparazzi and celebrity culture is a topic very prevalent in the world I live in, so the film didn’t land particularly strongly for me. Nor was there any amazing cinematic craft or performances to make the experience worth it. Oh, it’s certainly a well-crafted film, with Kurosawa’s skill in direction and editing (and Toshuro Mifune and Takashi Shimura’s skills in acting) on display. Just not to the higher levels they frequently achieve in their other collaborations.

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I did like the sort of genre and structural shifts the film employed; it never really settles as you’d expect it to. It progresses from a sort of sweet romance, to an uncomfortable satire and condmenation, to a quasi-feel-good courtroom thriller.

Far from my favourite Kurosawa film, but certainly not bad or anything. Just nothing special. I give it two and a half illicit photos, and a tabloid newspaper.

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