Directed by Akira Kurosawa
Starring Toshiro Mifune, Machiko Kyo and Masayuki Mori
This film was nominated for the 1953 Academy Award for Best Art Direction-Set Direction, Black and White. It also won the Honorary Award in 1952 from the Academy Awards.
A heinous crime and its aftermath are recalled from differing points of view.
IMDb rating: 8.3
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 100%
Genevieve’s rating: 🔥🔥🔥🔥
Jessica’s rating: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥
Genevieve: I want to point out right from the start that my first note I took while watching this film was “I like how when each person is questioned, we are seated as the judge hearing the story”. Five minutes into the film, I took that note, not even realizing what I was about to watch. Most movies are a blind watch for me. I hear about the film through recommendation, critic review, film documentary or any other random means of learning about the films that helped to found what we enjoy today. I knew Kurosawa was a director heralded for his masterpieces and I knew that Jessica said this was the one to watch, but other than that, I knew nothing about the plot at all as this film unveiled itself to me on screen. I realized quickly that my first impression was the whole point of the film. We are to judge each person and each story to figure out the truth for yourself. And the truth might be different for each viewer because he never completely tells you the truth.
Jessica: I agree. I feel that the woodcutter is the most likely to be telling the truth, he seems the most moral of the four due to his last scene in the film. Kurosawa is a wonderful directed and this film in particular had a huge influence on many other films. Rashomon was now become a term for plot device. There is even a list somewhere of all the films that use it. This movie is actually an adaption from a collection of short stories.
Genevieve: Usual Suspects would be on that list for sure. I see definite parallels between the two. I also agree with you about siding with the woodcutter. Although, even he wasn’t sure of his own story after hearing all the other conflicting stories. Everything in this film just sticks with you so heavily. Every word, every action feels heavy with the burden to prove oneself. But they are all claiming to be guilty so it adds an element of contemplation that is lost without that small detail.