CURE (KYUA) 1997

Director: Kiyoshi Kurosawa

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl

Kiyoshi Kurosawa is a glossy but uneven filmmaker whose films frequently drone on & on, make little sense, are always well-acted & look good, but storywise too often add up to nothing (see for examples Bright Future & Seance). But Cure is a fine mystery to go with some excellent performances.

A series of murders are obvioiusly related somehow, as each killer is a previously decent sod who inexplicably kills someone close to him & carves a big X on her chest & throat, cutting both arteries. Detective Takabe (the brilliant Koji "Shall We Dance" Yakusho) finally tracks down the eerie connecting thread to all the crimes: A profoundly amnesiac young man with mesmeric powers.

The tale is genuinely mysterious & intense. A lot of the tension stems from the young man's powers being so compelling, & our hero having a burdensomely mentally ill wife who would seem to be at considerable risk if the amnesiac should happen to plant in the detective's subconsious his usual insinuation that killing is good.

Every scene is infused with menace & yet the amnesiac as played by Masato Hagiwara (seen also in Hideo Nakata's strange thriller Chaos) has about him a degree of tragedy that makes even the "villain" sympathetic.

The idea of an amnesiac sociopath can't have been easy to write, but the script is perfect, & the casting as well as the atmospheric cinematography are absolute perfection to bring it off convincingly. It is one of the most unique serial killer movies ever done, looking deep in the darkest corners of both of its key characters' minds.

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl

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