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Generally favorable reviews - based on 13 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 11 Ratings

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  • Summary: Part atmospheric crime film and part philosophical meditation, this film follows a detective who is tracking a series of identical murders, committed under the same bizarre circumstances. (Cowboy Booking International)


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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 13
  2. Negative: 0 out of 13
  1. 83
    Takes the typical detective-hunting-a-serial-killer story and twists it into a creepy, enigmatic bit of psychological terror that by its final ambiguous scene leaves you truly chilled.
  2. With its gift for infusing uneasiness into every frame, Kurosawa's moody, unnerving film continues to spook us even after the lights have gone on.
  3. 80
    Cure has a generic resemblance to "Seven," but it's far more oblique, and that much more troubling.
  4. The final scene is a piece of cunning visual wit that makes you realize how artful and sneaky Cure, has been beneath its clinical, deadpan surface.
  5. 70
    The result is somewhat confounding, but utterly spellbinding.
  6. 70
    The movie is not always satisfying as a standard thriller, nor is it always clear; but it's never dull, either, and it displays a sensibility so weird as to be its own recommendation.
  7. It's more psychological than a genre movie, and that is the source of both its greatest interest and its biggest problem.

See all 13 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 5
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 5
  3. Negative: 0 out of 5
  1. BobN
    May 25, 2009
    People tend to the extreme in the usage of political word-bombs: "You're a facist! Hitler!" In art, people tend to proclaim: People tend to the extreme in the usage of political word-bombs: "You're a facist! Hitler!" In art, people tend to proclaim: "Masterpiece! Brilliant!" with no basis as well. I saw this film in 2001, and eight years later, after having seen it multiple times, I can subjectively claim this film is great. Truly great. It breaks genre molds and waxes philosophically. It is hauntingly creepy. It becomes mystical and spiritual, approaching reason through the primitive door of intuition and emotion. This is not Seven, or Zodiac, both of which are fantastic. This is something more. This is, to put it bluntly, one of the best films made. When you watch this, do not be afraid if it gets underneath your skin. You have simply been infected by Kiyoshi Kurosawa. The cure is to hunt down his other fantastic films and experience them as well. Expand
  2. Oct 7, 2013
    Director Kiyoshi Kurosawa constructs a captivating, complex universe in "Cure," and one that cannot be reduced to simple answers andDirector Kiyoshi Kurosawa constructs a captivating, complex universe in "Cure," and one that cannot be reduced to simple answers and established truths. On the surface, Kurosawa has seemingly constructed your standard procedural police thriller, but as the story slowly unfolds, it develops into a fascinating, perplexing psychological mystery. From the startlingly violent opening sequence, it's clear we're in the hands of a gifted director in complete control of his medium, and who focuses on heightening the senses to create an atmosphere of trepidation. Kurosawa pulls his story in the opposite direction of a typical detective story, and brilliantly turns a routine thriller into a vehicle of social criticism.

    The first half of "Cure" unfolds as a police-procedural. A wave of gruesome murders is sweeping Tokyo, and the only connection between them is a bloody X carved into the neck of each of the victims. A variety of unlikely killers are responsible for the slayings, all of whom have encountered a disoriented young man named Kunio Mamiya, played by Masato Hagiwara. He possesses a hypnotic effect on people, but has no apparent memory of it. His lack of memory appears contagious, and the eventual killers succumb to it as well. Detective Takabe picks up bits and pieces about hypnotic suggestion, a theory he tosses out early in the film, and it is also rejected by his psychiatrist friend, Makoto Sakuma (Tsuyoshi Ujiki). The trail of dead bodies, however, eventually leads to Mamiya, who's been held in a mental hospital.

    The second half of the film involves Takabe dealing with his own emotional issues, and his wife who has a deteriorating mental condition, whose symptoms include an inability to recall recent events, and in this way she and Mamiya appear quite similar. This increases Takabe's frustration with Mamiya, as the boy's refusal to respond to simple requests reminds him all to well of the issues at home. Takabe would most likely be Mamiya's next victim, however, he does have one advantage that Mamiya's other victims didn't: his growing knowledge of Mamiya's abilities.

    Just as Mamiya is hypnotically manipulating his prey, Kurosawa is also skillfully manipulating the audience, taking us into a world of uncertainty, and a slow descent into pure madness. Kiyoshi Kurosawa deserves credit for his unique visual approach, and his evasive approach to storytelling. He establishes a pervasive sense of detachment by utilizing barren landscapes, and filming scenes with isolated frames. Almost no music is present during the movie, adding to the feel of extreme isolation, and instead amplified everyday sounds create the tension.

    Inevitably, the indefinable cure for the unconscionable murders serves as a tragic allegory for the emotional disconnect of our society. The film eerily presents the impersonal nature of our contemporary existence with extraordinary direction. Mr. Kurosawa constructs an elaborate psychological labyrinth, and then strands us in the middle of it, with no definitive way out. A master of disquiet, Kurosawa touches on the forbidden zones of our existence, exploring the unseen, and probing the unspeakable.

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