Stray Dog (1949)

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A very young looking Toshiro Mifune plays a fresh young police officer who becomes increasingly obsessive while tracking down his stolen gun when it is used in a series of violent crimes.

Akira Kurosawa’s low key detective thriller borrows heavily from contemporary Film Noir and uses that influence to contrast the hardship and poverty of post war Japan with the urban glamour and decadence of its American counterpart. It’s an interesting snapshot of the Japan of the period, often shot in a documentary style although I did feel a lot of the somewhat unnecessary background detail did interfere with the narrative pacing, slowing things down considerably. His usual strong moral message is also in evidence as he shows the criminal and detective as both sides of the same coin, a theme that has recurred again and again in Asian crime drama ever since.

Yet another hugely influential and brilliantly made film that despite it’s ponderous pace never fails to fascinate.

6.5/10

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