Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
Stray Dog VHS
When a young homicide detective loses his gun to a pickpocket, a heated chase through Tokyo's underworld begins. Rich in atmosphere and detail, this classic Japanese film noir from Akira Kurosawa (Rashomon, Ikiru) offers powerful insight into the criminal mind and life in postwar Japan. The rookie cop, played by Toshiro Mifune (Rashomon, Seven Samurai), fumbles his way through the search until he is joined by a seasoned detective (Takashi Shimura, Ikiru, Rashomon). Following one clue to the next, they learn that the stolen pistol has been used in a robbery and fatal shooting. Desperate to find the murderer, Mifune soon reveals his own criminal impulses. Shot on location with the Hollywood model--and accompanied by music ranging from classical to boogie woogie--Stray Dog is both a thrilling crime drama and a complex character study.
A classic crime film steeped in the vivid environs of postwar Tokyo, Stray Dog is arguably Akira Kurosawa's finest film preceding the international success of Rashomon. A classic theme--the identification between criminal and crime fighter--is presented here in one of its earliest incarnations, as a promising young detective (Toshiro Mifune) struggles to retrieve his stolen pistol. The missing gun is used in a robbery and murder, and Mifune's superior (Ikiru's Takashi Shimura) is caught in the case's volatile crossfire. As the detective closes in on his lethal alter ego, his own moral compass spins out of control, into a psychological tempest that inspires Mifune to give one of his best early performances. Using real locations and a sense of sweltering heat rivaled only by Do the Right Thing, Kurosawa (who first wrote this film as an unpublished novel inspired by an actual incident) maintains an atmosphere of lurid urgency perfectly suited to this riveting film noir scenario. --Jeff Shannon
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Stray Dog is an intense criminal story that examines the psychology of the characters as in compares the similarities between criminals and detectives. These similarities are balanced on a thin line based on choice, which Kurosawa dissects studiously through the camera lens. Kurosawa's investigation of the character's psychology creates a spiraling suspense that is enhanced through subtle surprises and brilliant cinematography. The camera use often displays shots through thin cloths, close ups, and new camera angles, which also makes the film aesthetically appealing. When Kurosawa brings together camera work and cast performance, among other cinematic aspects, he leaves the audience with a brilliantly suspenseful criminal drama, which leaves much room for introspection and retrospection.
The location photography alone is fascinating in depicting the Japan of 1948 or 49. And the story progresses as a very young Toshiro Mifune wanders through various levels of that postwar society in search of the thief who stole his Colt. On hand also, is that wonderful actor in Kurosawa's repertory company that was the leader of the 7 Samurai, and here too, is the older & wiser mentor to Mifune.
Finally, the movie wins you over for its own reasons. Though early, Kurosawa's composition, framing, and directorial skill is evident. The performances are fine. The atmosphere and location photography ground the film in reality. And it is a more complex film and story than it first appears. And, like early Ford, there is poetry amid the restrictions of budget and resources. And like early Ford, it presages what was to come. Good stuff if you've a mind for it. 5 stars for those folks.
Most recent customer reviews