Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


CURE (1997). Director: Kiyoshi Kurosawa.

Detective Takabe (Koji Yokusho) of the Tokyo police force is not only dealing with an ill wife (Anna Nakagawa), but with a series of gruesome murders that have a couple of things in common. An "X" was carved into the bodies of the victims, and the various murderers all encountered a strange man named Mamiya (Masato Hagiwara) -- who first shows up as an amnesiac on the beach -- shortly before they went on their killing rampage. No one has any real motive for their slayings so Takabe wonders if Mamiya, who studied the work of Austrian "mesmerist" Mesmer, was somehow able to hypnotize people and force them to commit ghastly crimes. Takabe's friend and colleague Sakuma (Tsuyoshi Ujiki) tries to help him unravel the mystery. Although it holds the attention for the most part and seems to be well-acted, the problem with Cure is that it's very deliberately-paced, and is, truth told, merely a stretched out Tales from the Crypt episode with, annoyingly, no real resolution. Director Kurosawa, who also wrote the screenplay and the novel it was based on, is no relation to the more famous Akira Kurosawa.

Verdict: Intriguing at first but ... **.

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