CURE (1997)



This is a movie that we just happened to watch on Hulu and I cannot stop telling people to watch! It’s so incredible and I’m glad we got the chance to see it. I’m already ready to watch it again along with others by this director.

I don’t want to give any spoilers away because I really just want everyone to watch this but I will talk about what I like about the film. First, the pacing. I can’t remember the last movie I watched where I was so aware of how great the pacing is. The story is about a detective trying to figure out why all these murders are happening by different people but performing the same act of cutting an X in the throat of their victims. As the story progresses you find out what’s going on as the detective does and the film does this even though you do stay with the detective throughout. When a murder takes place, you see almost everyone I think, but you only see certain stages of the act. Second, the sound. In almost every scene you are very aware not just what people are saying or doing but of the machines of white noise that is going on around them. In that sense it kind of reminded me of The Conversation of Onibaba. And lastly the characters. You are so on the side of the detective and you you are rooting for him to figure out what’s going on the whole time. I know the rough cop is done a lot but this did not make me tired of seeing that. He’s a complete badass.

WATCH THIS MOVIE IF YOU HAVE NOT!!!!!!!! We watched this about three weeks ago and every time I talk to someone at work I end up telling them to check this out.

Elizabeth (spoilers!)

Cure is just fucking fantastic and is basically exactly the movie I wanted it to be to the point where it actually felt good watching it.

Takabe (Koji Yakusho) is a detective trying to solve a series of murders that are all committed exactly the same way, but are done by different people who seem to have no connection to each other. Eventually Takabe meets Mamiya (Masato Hagiwara) who proves to be the link between everything, Takabe just needs to figure out how and why.

Have you ever seen The Happening? It’s not good, and I know it’s not good. It’s really hilarious, in fact. But there is an element from The Happening that I kind of loved. There’s something in the air that makes people spontaneously kill themselves, no matter what. No matter who they are or what they’re doing, if they catch a whiff of this stuff they automatically stop what they’re doing and kill themselves as fast as possible. It’s shocking and crazy and I feel like someone had that idea and built The Happening around it but didn’t really think about it other than this cool concept, because literally everything else about the movie is terrible.

But Cure is the movie that I wanted The Happening to be. It’s not the same plot; there’s no plant revolution and no one is forced by an unknown power to kill themselves. But people are forced by a power that is at first unknown to us to basically kill the first person they see. It doesn’t matter who it is (one man kills a prostitute, another kills his wife) or what they’re doing, but something is causing these people to brutally murder someone else. Except unlike The Happening, Cure actually has a reason for it. It just felt so good to see a film take such a similar concept that I love and actually not drop the fucking ball on it.

Cure is one of the best-paced movies I’ve seen in a really long time. It was so deliberate; it knew what it wanted you to know and when it wanted you to know it. When we see the first victim get killed, we really don’t know anything. We see a man take a pipe as he walks home, and then later we see a prostitute sit up in a hotel bed and that same man beats her with the pipe as he walks by, like it’s the most natural thing in the world. When we meet Mamiya, he has no memory of who he is or pretty much anything. He meets a man that tries to get through to him, though Mamiya doesn’t want to talk about himself. When that man later kills his wife, we get a hint that Mamiya is the missing link. As each killer kills their victim, we get more and more context as to why it’s happening and who else is involved. We find the answer at basically the same time as Takabe, which makes everything feel that much freakier and real.

I also loved the feel of this movie; I’ve described it to people as feeling more Scandinavian than Japanese, at least in terms of it being a Japanese horror movie. There’s not much gore and the movie is filled with giant shots and is very quiet. There’s a lot of emphasis on senses in Cure, so the sound design feels very deliberate and important and it takes what could be a boring, quiet scene and turns it into a very tense scene really easily.

If you’re turned off by Japanese horror, don’t let that stop you from seeing Cure. It’s just an insanely good movie, no matter what the country or genre. Cure has a lot of pay offs and is really just so awesome to watch.

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