a series of very similar murders don't make sense. all the ordinary explanations - a serial killer, a few copycats - don't pan out, since the killers are all different and none seemed to have a motive. an enigmatic drifter, an amnesiac and hypnotist, seems to be responsible. the real explanation is that murder never makes much sense. what's scary is that maybe nothing much else makes sense.
if the great russian filmmaker tarkovsky examines the fragility of meaning but the real possibility of transcendence, k. kurosawa examines the real and palpable danger of it all slipping away. the real accomplishment here is to create an identification with a character who feels sublimated rage at his lot in life, and worries that he may not be so different from the killers. in our identification with this character, we cannot help but question ourselves. unlike the more typical horror that puts the monster outside of us, cure stirs the viewer to question him or herself. what am I really about? what makes me tick? what do I really want?
what's really scary is not the monster or the enigmatic psychopath. it's us. it's the living by habit. settling down. sublimation of dissatisfaction and rage. the stuck in a rut. the what's it all for and maybe nothing.
kiyoshi kurosawa made this film after noting that most killings happen close to home and are unexpected. the neighbors say "he was an ordinary guy" "I never thought he could do such a thing" - and the perpetrator is often surprised: "it seemed like the right thing at the time," even if the aftermath is horrible.
kurosawa doesn't make the conventional film and doesn't stick quite to genre conventions, even when he toys with them (the serial killer film here; the horror film in Pulse and Retribution). he doesn't make it quick and simple and direct, since he's not only interested in telling a story but creating an experience. he knows exactly how to deliver a feeling, and make it linger. here it's a palpable dread, but tied not to a real threat of death but to the question: who am I? what am I capable of?
A man barely touches his dinner. Later he eats at the same restaurant and finishes his meal. It sounds simple but for viewers who pay attention and think about what they have seen, it is the stuff of nightmares. The man is a detective investigating a series of seemingly random murders committed by different killers. Each murderer is caught at or near the scene of the crime. None of the perpetrators has killed before and none seems to … more
In the hands of director Kiyoshi Kurosawa, a serial-killer movie is not merely a serial-killer movie.Curedoesn't so much scream and shout as drive the audience slowly crazy--much like Kurosawa's subsequent creepfests,SeanceandPulse(a.k.a.Kairo). Koji Yakusho, the happy-foot husband inShall We Dance, plays a weary detective on a baffling murder case, which paradoxically becomes even more puzzling as the solution begins to emerge. Kurosawa's use of empty spaces, and his uncanny command of the soundtrack (the eerie collection of hums and drones would win David Lynch's approval) makes for a shivery experience... though not one interested in resolving itself in a conventional manner. And why should it? At some terrible point in this movie you realize that catching the bad guy isn't going to make Kurosawa's poisoned world any cleaner or safer. Stick with the director's elliptical style, andCurewill leave dread in its tainted wake.--Robert Horton