Written By: JASR
Edited By: Grave Reviews Staff
Director: Kiyoshi Kurosawa
Producer: Tetsuya Ikeda, Satoshi Kanno et al.
Screenwriter: Kiyoshi Kurosawa
Date of release: December 27, 1997
Koji Yakusho as Det. Kenichi Takabe
Masato Hagiwara as Kunio Mamiya
Tsuyoshi Ujiki as Makoto Sakuma
Anna Nakagawa as Fumie Takabe
Ren Osugi as Fujiwara
Yoriko Doguchi as Dr. Akiko Miyajimi
Rating = 4/5 Graves
***May contain some spoilers***
Detective Takabe (Koji Yakusho) tracks a series of identical murders while patiently dealing with his demential wife. Takabe grows increasingly frustrated because the suspects have no recollection of the crime. He decides to team up with Makoto Sakuma (Tsuyoshi Ujiki), a psychiatristli, to interrogate the suspects. Later on, they delve into hypnotism to approach the investigation differently only to find out mind-boggling revelations.
There’s a few explicit gore in this film but several revolting images of mutilated bodies. It deals with a number of murders in which the victims have all died from a very peculiar knife wound: a large X carved into their flesh, across the throat and chest. Having a detective as a protagonist opens up to a lot of crime scenes, and as a viewer, you also get used to the job. However, tolerance is tested over a competition of verbal gymnastics rather than physical combat. It is all the more fatal, especially that it wounds the mind.
The Grave Review
Cure (1997) banks on hypnotism to turn on your adrenaline while you try to figure out the series of crimes. As an atmospheric crime film and philosophical introspection, it gets to a point when the harm done to the characters’ mind slowly romances your head as a viewer. As always, when the cinema lights come out after a Kurosawa film, return to reality is far from comforting.
Cure (1997) crashed the cinemas at the right time. It is released in a period when serial killer films are popular in Hollywood and the market cannot resist cryptic supernatural tales such as Jonathan Demme’s Silence of the Lambs and David Fincher’s Se7en. What makes this film different from its contemporaries is its sharp dissection of the ills of the modern world. More than atmospheric psycho scares, it goes far as witty slurs to intimidate the viewers. By then, the market is waiting for crime films to level up their game and Cure has responded to it.
Every aspect of the film seems to be conspiring with the unfeeling madness it presents. The characters are obscured and the acting is downplayed. The pulsing score is agitating and the violence is detached and observing. Locations are deserted, dismal, and dilapidated. All in all, these factors sway the audience through hypnotic suggestions, forcefully leaving a certain disquiet.
With a small cluster of crimes, Cure (1997) has been able to cause restlessness of just knowing that it can get so much worse. It amplifies the hazards of hypnosis by giving the audience a peek of its abuse. In it, Kurosawa lets loose of a shadow. It is the shadow of apocalypse. An apocalypse that is not seen or heard, but sensed. And it is inching closer and closer.
For the foregoing reasons, Grave Reviews gives Cure (1997) four graves out of five graves.
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