The Cure

Serial killer movies have been done to death. What more can be carved into the body of a genre? After Seven, enough is (please God) enough. Kiyoshi Kurosawa thinks not. And he's right.

When dead people start popping up, mutilated with slashes of an X, Tokyo detective Kenichi Takabe (Koji Yakusho from Shall We Dance?) suspects a psycho is loose. What doesn't make sense is that the perpetrators of these crimes are different in each case, although the condition of the bodies spookily the same.

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Takabe enlists the help of psychologist Shim Sakuma (Tsuyoshi Ujiki). The mystery becomes a mind game, in which one of the players has not yet arrived. What intrigues Sakuma is that the murderers do not deny involvement. They simply don't remember and assume, since the evidence points to it, that they were responsible, which is deeply distressing to them.

Takabe has a sick wife (Anna Nakagawa), who suffers another form of amnesia. It is a constant worry to him. When she gets lost coming home from the shops, it is as if her memory has gone away somewhere else. The killers are like that, as if their minds have been abducted. By whom? And why?

Thrillers have their own cliches. Film schools teach signpost recognition, as if the language of movie buffs is an essential part of cinematic literacy. Directors see this as the key to instantly access an audience. What is so exciting about Kurosawa is that he ignores the shorthand. You won't find a signpost cliche here. What you will find is a dark place called madness.

Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001
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A detective investigates a series of murders, trying to work out why, despite each having the same methodology, the perpatrators appear to be different.
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Director: Kiyoshi Kurosawa

Writer: Kiyoshi Kurosawa

Starring: Koji Yakusho, Tsuyoshi Ujiki, Anna Nakagawa, Masato Hagiwara

Year: 1997

Runtime: 115 minutes

Country: Japan

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