Thursday 22 May 2014

Intimidation [1960]

Kurahara’s Intimidation was diametrically different – generically, thematically and stylistically – from the 2 other films by this filmmaker during his studio days that I’ve seen, viz. Black Sun and The Warped Ones. This taut, bleak, tense, fatalistic and low-budget Nikkatsu Noir, at a brisk running time of 65 minutes, was made right along the lines of classic American noirs. Takita (Nobuo Kaneko), the seemingly much loved assistant manager of a bank, has been promoted to the head office. However, as is eventually revealed, that was on account of his opportunistic marriage to the bank president’s daughter and various scams he participated in during his job. His old buddy Nakaike (Akira Nishimura) is a classic example of a loser – he never managed to rise up the ladder, he is regularly trampled upon by all like a doormat, he was in love with the lady Takita eventually married while ditching Nakaike’s sister in the process, and, much to the chagrin of his frustrated sister, he’s resigned to his life as a perennial loser. After the end of the lavish farewell party thrown in Takita’s honour, he receives a quiet visit from a shady and mysterious blackmailer who produces proofs of his misdeeds and asks for 3 million Yen to keep silent; fearing everything to lose, he decides to rob the bank and have Nakaike as the scape-goat. As can be expected, neither does everything go as per plan, nor does everything seems as it is, thus leading to a mean and unexpected climax. Bad memories, wrong judgements and fatal confrontations were the order of the day in this engaging little film, filled with B/W chiaroscuro and decent performances.

Director: Koreyoshi Kurahara
Genre: Drama/Crime Drama/Post-Noir
Language: Japanese
Country: Japan

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