films seen
38
average score
2.86*
nationality
Japan - 67 years old
status
Alive and kicking
more info

Kurosawa started out directing pinkus, got big riding the Japanese horror wave and excelled with his more dramatic output. He's impossible to pigeon-hole, but still manages to have a clear signature that binds the whole of his oeuvre together.

The good stuff

Bright Future

Akarui Mirai
2003 / 92m - Japan
Drama
4.0*/5.0*
Bright Future poster

Eyes of the Spider

Kumo no Hitomi
1998 / 83m - Japan
Crime
4.0*/5.0*
Eyes of the Spider poster

The soundtrack is nice, the rhythm of the film is pretty unique and the bold approach to cutting up the story line is a refreshing change. Kurosawa proves himself an interesting director.

Solid pieces

Creepy

Kurîpî: Itsuwari no Rinjin
2016 / 130m - Japan
Horror, Mystery, Thriller
3.5*/5.0*
Creepy poster

The Woman in the Silver Plate

Le Secret de la Chambre Noire
2016 / 131m - France
Drama, Romance, Fantasy, Horror
3.5*/5.0*
The Woman in the Silver Plate poster

Journey to the Shore

Kishibe no Tabi
2015 / 127m - Japan
Drama, Romance, Fantasy
3.5*/5.0*
Journey to the Shore poster

Real

Riaru: Kanzen Naru Kubinagaryû no Hi
2013 / 127m - Japan
Drama, Sci-fi
3.5*/5.0*
Real poster

Tokyo Sonata

Tôkyô Sonata
2008 / 120m - Japan
Drama
3.5*/5.0*
Tokyo Sonata poster

Kazuo Umezu's Horror Theater: Bug's House

Umezu Kazuo: Kyôfu Gekijô - Mushi-tachi no Ie
2005 / 51m - Japan
Horror
3.5*/5.0*
Kazuo Umezu's Horror Theater: Bug's House poster

Loft

Rofuto
2005 / 115m - Japan
Horror
3.5*/5.0*
Loft poster

A twisty horror from the hands of Kiyoshi Kurosawa. I had it booked as one of my favorites of his, but watching it again it didn't quite hold up. It's still a solid, very moody, and atmospheric film, but there's not quite enough there to separate it from a bunch of similar-looking Japanese horror films.

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Reiko is a young writer working on her latest novel. She moves houses and ends up in a rather fancy loft. An abandoned building across her new house doesn't appear all that abandoned when she notices a shady figure roaming around at night. It turns out to be a professor who discovered a 1000-year-old mummy in the nearby swamps.

The music is the big star here. It adds oodles of atmosphere, but that alone isn't enough to make a creepy horror film. The scares are a bit expected, the cinematography a little too dim, and the plot starts to dominate the mood near the end of the film. It's still a worthy film, well worth watching if you're looking for some prime horror filler, but a true favorite it is not.

Barren Illusion

Ôinaru Gen'ei
1999 / 95m - Japan
Drama, Sci-fi, Romance
3.5*/5.0*
Barren Illusion poster

Charisma

Karisuma
1999 / 104m - Japan
Drama
3.5*/5.0*
Charisma poster

Suit Yourself or Shoot Yourself!: The Hero

Katte ni Shiyagare!! Eiyu Keikaku
1996 / 83m - Japan
Comedy, Crime
3.5*/5.0*
Suit Yourself or Shoot Yourself!: The Hero poster

Remarkable TV film from Kiyoshi Kurosawa. Strong performances from Sho Aikawa, Susumu Terajima and Ren Osugi, combined with a wacky plot make for surprisingly fun film. The styling is bland, to be expected from a TV production, but the cast and plot make well up for that.

Suit Yourself or Shoot Yourself!: The Loot

Katte ni Shiyagare!! Ôgon Keikaku
1996 / 80m - Japan
Crime
3.5*/5.0*
Suit Yourself or Shoot Yourself!: The Loot poster

Suit Yourself or Shoot Yourself!: The Nouveau Riche

Katte ni Shiyagare!! Narikin Keikaku
1996 / 81m - Japan
Comedy, Crime
3.5*/5.0*
Suit Yourself or Shoot Yourself!: The Nouveau Riche poster

Fifth entry in Kurosawa's Suit Yourself series, the final one for me. One of the better ones too, with flashes of Miike and Kitano that bring some extra flair to the film. The setup and vibe should be familiar by now, Kurosawa doesn't change too much there, he just puts his main characters in a different situation.

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Aikawa and Maeda run into a girl who just happened upon a trunk full of heroin. They come up with a plan to sell the drugs and in no time they have a couple of buyers lined up. They try to take advantage by driving up the price, but the people they're dealing with aren't really happy when they find out they're being played.

Aikawa and Maeda's schemes to get rich are pretty fun, the comedy is goofy and enjoyable, the pacing is slick and there are some memorable scenes. Its TV roots are still quite obvious, but a good cast, entertaining vibe and short runtime make sure that this never becomes a big problem. Good fun.

The inoffensive

Before We Vanish

Sanpo Suru Shinryakusha
2017 / 129m - Japan
Drama, Sci-fi
3.0*/5.0*
Before We Vanish poster

Kiyoshi Kurosawa's invasion flick is not so much about aliens, instead it's more about humanity. Some nice ideas and interesting scenes, but overall the atmosphere is a little lackluster and the tone of the film is surprisingly jolly. Not his best work, but still above par.

Foreboding

Yocho: Sanpo Suru Shinryakusha
2017 / 60m - Japan
Drama
3.0*/5.0*
Foreboding poster

Weird follow-up to Before We Vanish. It's not a sequel, not a prequel, almost a remake but not quite. Kurosawa delivers an alternate version of his previous alien film, one that shows more similarities than differences, but still works as a seperate film. The film itself is decent, but overly long.

Penance

Shokuzai
2012 / 270m - Japan
Mystery
3.0*/5.0*
Penance poster

Retribution

Sakebi
2006 / 104m - Japan
Horror, Mystery, Thriller
3.0*/5.0*
Retribution poster

Doppelganger

Dopperugenga
2003 / 107m - Japan
Comedy, Fantasy, Thriller
3.0*/5.0*
Doppelganger poster

License to Live

Ningen Gokaku
1998 / 109m - Japan
Comedy, Drama
3.0*/5.0*
License to Live poster

Door 3

Doa 3
1996 / 89m - Japan
Drama, Sci-fi, Horror
3.0*/5.0*
Door 3 poster

Suit Yourself or Shoot Yourself!: The Gamble

Katte ni Shiyagare!! Gyakuten Keikaku
1996 / 80m - Japan
Comedy, Crime
3.0*/5.0*
Suit Yourself or Shoot Yourself!: The Gamble poster

The fourth entry in the Suit Yourself of Shoot Yourself series is another amusing crime romp. Kurosawa shot these six films in a period of two years time, so it's no surprise that the quality is pretty consistent. It's light entertainment that was able to rise above its humble origins thanks to a great cast.

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Yûji likes a gamble from time to time, but his partner is infinitely more lucky than he is. It gets on Yûji's nerves, whenever he tries to outdo his partner luck isn't on his side. Things are looking up when he finds 10 million yen, what Yûji doesn't know is that the money belongs to the Yakuza.

Sho Aikawa and Koyo Maeda form a great pair, the brisk pacing is well appreciated and the light atmosphere makes the film extremely easy to digest. It probably won't make many people's best-of lists when they consider Kurosawa's oeuvre, but it's perfect filler material that easily succeeds in what it set out to accomplish.

Suit Yourself or Shoot Yourself!: The Escape

Katte ni Shiyagare!! Dasshutsu Keikaku
1995 / 80m - Japan
Comedy, Crime
3.0*/5.0*
Suit Yourself or Shoot Yourself!: The Escape poster

The second entry in one of Kiyoshi Kurosawa's lesser known franchises. It's not too surprising the Suit Yourself of Shoot Yourself films never became a big success, it is after all a series of Japanese TV films. The lighter tone, the excellent cast, consistent quality and short runtimes make this a franchise well worth exploring.

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Yûji's latest assignment involves tailing the daughter of a Yakuza boss. He finds out the girl is hooking up with a boy in secret, something her father doesn't appreciate in the least. After this discovery, he offers Yûji a big lump sum of money if he captures the boy and brings him in.

Show Aikawa is a great lead, with actors like Sabu and Ren Osugi backing him up Kurosawa was able to assemble a great cast. The film isn't too serious, the story isn't dragged out unnecessarily and even though it lacks a little visual flair, the entertainment value is high. A solid entry in a solid series.

Suit Yourself or Shoot Yourself!: The Heist

Katte ni Shiyagare!! Goudatsu Keikaku
1995 / 81m - Japan
Comedy, Drama, Crime
3.0*/5.0*
Suit Yourself or Shoot Yourself!: The Heist poster

Fun and quirky little crime comedy. The Suit Yourself films may be developed for TV, but the acting talent is top-notch and Kurosawa's direction is on point. While essentially little more than simple genre exercises, the tone is just right and the mix of comedy and gangster business is pretty entertaining. Solid.

Yakuza Taxi

893 Taxi
1994 / 79m - Japan
Comedy, Crime
3.0*/5.0*
Yakuza Taxi poster

The Guard from the Underground

Jigoku no Keibiin
1992 / 96m - Japan
Drama, Horror, Crime
3.0*/5.0*
The Guard from the Underground poster

Worthy but flawed

To the Ends of the Earth

Tabi no Owari Sekai no Hajimari
2019 / 120m - Japan
Drama
2.5*/5.0*
To the Ends of the Earth poster

Kurosawa is struggling lately. His latest is an interesting attempt to bring two nations together, but the result is equal amounts culture clash and xenophobia, that doesn't have much to add to what's already out there. There are some individual scenes that stick out, but overall it's just very basic and expected.

Seventh Code

Sebunsu Kôdo
2013 / 60m - Japan
Mystery, Thriller
2.5*/5.0*
Seventh Code poster

Pulse

Kairo
2001 / 119m - Japan
Sci-fi, Horror, Mystery, Thriller
2.5*/5.0*
Pulse poster

Serpent's Path

Hebi no Michi
1998 / 85m - Japan
Crime
2.5*/5.0*
Serpent's Path poster

The Revenge: The Scar That Never Fades

Fukushu the Revenge Kienai Kizuato
1997 / 83m - Japan
Action, Thriller, Crime
2.5*/5.0*
The Revenge: The Scar That Never Fades poster

The Revenge: A Visit from Fate

Fukushu: Kienai Shokon
1996 / 83m - Japan
Action, Thriller, Crime
2.5*/5.0*
The Revenge: A Visit from Fate poster

Dubious filler

Sweet Home

Sûîto Homu
1989 / 100m - Japan
Horror
2.0*/5.0*
Sweet Home poster

Plain forgettable

Wife of a Spy

Supai no Tsuma
2020 / 115m - Japan
Drama, Thriller
1.5*/5.0*
Wife of a Spy poster

Kurosawa's latest is a big disappointment. My expectation were pretty low going in, as the promo material was pretty clear about what type of film this was going to be, even then it felt lazy, uninspired and obsolete. Kurosawa might want to take a good, long look at his work and try to reinvent himself again.

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Wife of a Spy is a rather sluggish and tradition wartime thriller. Yusaku and Satoko are a happy couple, but when Satoko finds out her husband is working against the Japanese government their lives take a big turn. She wants to get involved too, but Yusaku isn't too keen to put his wife in danger.

The performances are decent, Aoi and Takahashi are seasoned actors, but that's not enough to keep this film interesting. The cinematography feels outdated, the plot is predictable and the soundtrack is uninspired. It's yesteryear's cinema, no surprise then it did manage to steal some critical acclaim and festival prizes. Subpar considering all the talented people involved.

Seance

Kôrei
2000 / 118m - Japan
Drama, Horror, Thriller
1.5*/5.0*
Seance poster

Cure

Kyua
1997 / 111m - Japan
Horror, Mystery
1.5*/5.0*
Cure poster

Big nopes

The Excitement of the Do-Re-Mi-Fa Girl

Do-re-mi-fa-Musume no Chi Wa Sawagu
1985 / 83m - Japan
Comedy, Musical
1.0*/5.0*
The Excitement of the Do-Re-Mi-Fa Girl poster

Irritation overload

Kandagawa Wars

Kanda-gawa Inran Senso
1983 / 60m - Japan
Comedy, Drama
0.5*/5.0*
Kandagawa Wars poster