Morality Play Predictable and Well-Presented
Randy Keehn | Williston, ND United States | 09/22/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
""Scadal" is an early Kurosawa film that gives a lot of suggestions of the Director's genius. However, the the plot suffers from being predictable and overstated. The two main characters are played by Toshiro Mifune and Takashi Shimura who are, individually or together, in a majority of Akira Kurosawa's films. Mifune gives the better performance in his role as Ichiro Aoe; an artist who is secure in himself and his purpose. Shimura plays a lawyer named Hiruta who is just the opposite. Ichiro Aoe is insulted when a gossip magazine makes too much out of his chance encounter with a popular yet reclusive singer. Aoe is angered and he wishes to do something about it. In steps Hiruta. The film turns into a story about moral character (standing up for one's principles) and human frailty (Hiruta's weaknesses are rather excessive). The movie attempts to become a courtroom drama but Hiruta is so inept that the legal drama is missing. The ending is quite predictable which might have been avoided if Hiruta had been a bit less than the scoundrel that he becomes.
Fans of Mifune should enjoy this film. It is one of his better performances. Fans of Shimura will likely feel a bit disappointed in his role right out of a soap opera. Kurosawa probably had a lot of fun portraying the celebrity gossip magazine as the unethical "we're just in it for the money" collective group of villans. It's worth watching once."