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I picked up I Live In Fear because if I ever see a Kurosawa and Toshiro Mifune collaboration that I don't have I buy it without hesitation. I hadn't heard of this one and perhaps it's not as well known because it isn't one of Kurosawa's samurai film's or the police stories he frequently made. Certainly the film didn't do well when it was released in Japan, it was Kurosawa's biggest box office bomb but he himself said how proud he was of it but that perhaps he made the film too soon(only 10 years had passed since Japan was hit by two Nuclear Bombs) The story centers around the Nakajima family, headed by Toshiro Mifune's Kiichi Nakajima. Straight away we find out that Mifune's character wishes for them to leave Japan because he has become afraid of Nuclear bomb's and Nuclear war so they try to have him declared mentally incapable by family court. Toshiro Mifune is incredible in this film, all of the roles I have seen him play do not compare to this, it is so different to anything he played in any of his other collaborations with Kurosawa. He was 35 at the time of filming but here plays a man twice his age, he is almost unrecognisable from the start under just a little make up and some grey hair but the way he carries himself throughout the film is amazing to watch. You feel like he is almost bursting because of the restrictions his aged body has put on him, that same anger which he often seems to have simmering beneath the surface of so many characters that he plays is here as well but is even more captivating to watch. It is often hard to see how powerless he is, made so by both the way his family begin to treat him and that it is the court that will decide his fate and not him. The film feels a tad long even at 1 hour 40 minutes as it sometimes drag's when some scenes with the extended family are taking place but in general it is fascinating to watch. Kurosawa regular Takashi Simura also stars as one of the men on the court who begins to wonder himself about the dangers posed by Nuclear weapons after hearing of everything the Nakajima family is going through. The DVD itself is of good quality which you would expect from one of the BFI releases, obviously it's not widescreen but the picture quality is great and it's consistent which is not always the case with some of Kurosawa's film's particularly the older ones. All in all, it's a great story and something very different from Kurosawa's more regular film's. The acting across the cast is very good but the performance from Toshiro Mifune is the best reason to watch the film. He is incredible, you can't take your eye's of him every time he's on screen whether he's involved or not. Perhaps his performances in other film's have been far more talked about(Seven Samurai, Rashomon, Yojimbo) but I Live In Fear is unlike those and definitely worth watching.
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