Cure


1h 55m 1997

Brief Synopsis

Takabe is a Tokyo detective who is investigating a series of brutal murders in which each victim is found with an "X" carved into their chest. Their killers are apprehended nearby in a trance-like state with no memory of their acts. Takabe enlists the help of a psychiatrist to establish a link between the murderers. After struggling with the evidence, they hit upon a young psychiatry student, Mamiya, who had a connection with one of the killers. They soon conclude that Mamiya had been working with hypnosis and planted the idea to kill into his subjects' minds. However, Takabe's attempts to interrogate Mamiya are thwarted by the suspect's knowledge of Takabe's personal problems.

Film Details

Also Known As
Cura, A, The, Kyua
MPAA Rating
Genre
Adaptation
Crime
Foreign
Horror
Thriller
Release Date
1997
Distribution Company
Cowboy Pictures; Cowboy Pictures; Mk2 International; Shochiku Company, Ltd.

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 55m

Synopsis

Takabe is a Tokyo detective who is investigating a series of brutal murders in which each victim is found with an "X" carved into their chest. Their killers are apprehended nearby in a trance-like state with no memory of their acts. Takabe enlists the help of a psychiatrist to establish a link between the murderers. After struggling with the evidence, they hit upon a young psychiatry student, Mamiya, who had a connection with one of the killers. They soon conclude that Mamiya had been working with hypnosis and planted the idea to kill into his subjects' minds. However, Takabe's attempts to interrogate Mamiya are thwarted by the suspect's knowledge of Takabe's personal problems.

Film Details

Also Known As
Cura, A, The, Kyua
MPAA Rating
Genre
Adaptation
Crime
Foreign
Horror
Thriller
Release Date
1997
Distribution Company
Cowboy Pictures; Cowboy Pictures; Mk2 International; Shochiku Company, Ltd.

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 55m

Articles

Cure


Japanese director Kiyoshi Kurosawa (no relation to Akira Kurosawa, which is a side note he's probably tired of reading by now) has made 19 feature films and brings to the screen an unusual aesthetic that has slowly been stoking the coals of critical attention. His film, Cure (1997) was finally released in the U.S. in 2001 by Cowboy Booking, a distribution company that went bankrupt in 2003 and whose loss was immediately felt on independent and repertory houses nationwide. People who got a chance to see Cure on the big screen can begin to understand this loss while others will simply never know what they might be missing. The topic of loss is an appropriate one for Cure, as Kurosawa's film is loosely inspired by the Aum Shinrikyo religious cult attacks on the Tokyo subway system in 1995 wherein sarin-gas was used to lethal effect, with 12 dead and thousands injured - an act of terrorism that Americans would later understand on a more empathic level. People looking for good source material to flush out the framework of Kurosawa's influence could be guided toward author Haruki Murakami's book that covers how devastating the Tokyo gas attacks were on both survivors, and others, in his book Underground (2001), or even Vincent Bugliosi's Helter Skelter (1974), where terrorism takes on a decidedly counter-cultural bent in the form of the charismatic, but crazed, cult leader of Charles Manson. But these literary diversions are, admittedly, historically rooted and far more detail-oriented than Kurosawa's fictional interpretation of an enigmatic killer whose art of persuasion can make ordinary people lash out with brutal murders.

In Cure, ghastly murders occur and they all carry a linking signature, as if done by one perverted mind. But it turns out the murders are done by unrelated individuals. Detective Kenichi Tacabe, played by Koji Yakusho from Shall We Dance? (1996) and Warm Water Under a Red Bridge (2001), tries to figure it all out. Meanwhile, Kunio Mamiya (played by Masato Hagiwara) falls into police custody as a lone wolf suffering from amnesia; an unlikely puppet-master with deadly hypnotic powers. While the film is touted as being in the vein of horror-thrillers like Silence of the Lambs (1991) and Seven (1995), those films are extremely conventional by comparison. In Cure, nothing is ever quite what it seems, tension is built slowly, landscapes and compositions are allowed to breathe and express an uncomfortable space while decisive actions explode at unexpected moments or off-screen, or at the edge of the screen, and leave the viewer surprised, or in shock, or both.

One of the unnerving aspects of Cure lies in how the ghosts of any senseless murder spree can be felt to be lurking in the sidelines, whispering and informing the scenes, but never intruding outright on Kurosawa's story, whose purpose and plot weave their own original and haunting premise; our identity is not wholly our own, it changes, others can change it, and the most ordinary person in the world can do the most insane thing imaginable if prompted at a crucial moment by the right (read: wrong) person to do so.

Home Vision Entertainment's dvd release of Cure features the film in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1, contains a short interview with director Kiyoshi Kurosawa (wherein, among other things, he talks glowingly of his college years watching films in the 1970's by Sam Peckinpah, Robert Aldrich, Robert Fleischer, and Don Siegel), contains the original theatrical trailer, and has liner notes for the dvd by Tom Mes of MidnightEye.com. Viewers who find Cure to be the unnerving cup of tea they've been looking for are advised to seek out Kurosawa's later, even more ghostly (and certainly more apocalyptic), but still very enigmatic and artful feature: Pulse (2001).

For more information about Cure, visit Home Vision Entertainment. To order Cure, go to TCM Shopping.

by Pablo Kjolseth
Cure

Cure

Japanese director Kiyoshi Kurosawa (no relation to Akira Kurosawa, which is a side note he's probably tired of reading by now) has made 19 feature films and brings to the screen an unusual aesthetic that has slowly been stoking the coals of critical attention. His film, Cure (1997) was finally released in the U.S. in 2001 by Cowboy Booking, a distribution company that went bankrupt in 2003 and whose loss was immediately felt on independent and repertory houses nationwide. People who got a chance to see Cure on the big screen can begin to understand this loss while others will simply never know what they might be missing. The topic of loss is an appropriate one for Cure, as Kurosawa's film is loosely inspired by the Aum Shinrikyo religious cult attacks on the Tokyo subway system in 1995 wherein sarin-gas was used to lethal effect, with 12 dead and thousands injured - an act of terrorism that Americans would later understand on a more empathic level. People looking for good source material to flush out the framework of Kurosawa's influence could be guided toward author Haruki Murakami's book that covers how devastating the Tokyo gas attacks were on both survivors, and others, in his book Underground (2001), or even Vincent Bugliosi's Helter Skelter (1974), where terrorism takes on a decidedly counter-cultural bent in the form of the charismatic, but crazed, cult leader of Charles Manson. But these literary diversions are, admittedly, historically rooted and far more detail-oriented than Kurosawa's fictional interpretation of an enigmatic killer whose art of persuasion can make ordinary people lash out with brutal murders. In Cure, ghastly murders occur and they all carry a linking signature, as if done by one perverted mind. But it turns out the murders are done by unrelated individuals. Detective Kenichi Tacabe, played by Koji Yakusho from Shall We Dance? (1996) and Warm Water Under a Red Bridge (2001), tries to figure it all out. Meanwhile, Kunio Mamiya (played by Masato Hagiwara) falls into police custody as a lone wolf suffering from amnesia; an unlikely puppet-master with deadly hypnotic powers. While the film is touted as being in the vein of horror-thrillers like Silence of the Lambs (1991) and Seven (1995), those films are extremely conventional by comparison. In Cure, nothing is ever quite what it seems, tension is built slowly, landscapes and compositions are allowed to breathe and express an uncomfortable space while decisive actions explode at unexpected moments or off-screen, or at the edge of the screen, and leave the viewer surprised, or in shock, or both. One of the unnerving aspects of Cure lies in how the ghosts of any senseless murder spree can be felt to be lurking in the sidelines, whispering and informing the scenes, but never intruding outright on Kurosawa's story, whose purpose and plot weave their own original and haunting premise; our identity is not wholly our own, it changes, others can change it, and the most ordinary person in the world can do the most insane thing imaginable if prompted at a crucial moment by the right (read: wrong) person to do so. Home Vision Entertainment's dvd release of Cure features the film in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1, contains a short interview with director Kiyoshi Kurosawa (wherein, among other things, he talks glowingly of his college years watching films in the 1970's by Sam Peckinpah, Robert Aldrich, Robert Fleischer, and Don Siegel), contains the original theatrical trailer, and has liner notes for the dvd by Tom Mes of MidnightEye.com. Viewers who find Cure to be the unnerving cup of tea they've been looking for are advised to seek out Kurosawa's later, even more ghostly (and certainly more apocalyptic), but still very enigmatic and artful feature: Pulse (2001). For more information about Cure, visit Home Vision Entertainment. To order Cure, go to TCM Shopping. by Pablo Kjolseth

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Winner of the best actor award (Koji Yakusho) at the 1997 Tokyo International Film Festival.

Expanded Release in United States Summer 2001

Released in United States 1998

Released in United States August 3, 2001

Released in United States July 2001

Released in United States November 1997

Released in United States on Video January 13, 2004

Released in United States September 1998

Released in United States Summer July 27, 2001

Shown at American Film Market (AFM) in Santa Monica, California February 26 - March 6, 1998.

Shown at Asian American International Film Festival in New York City July 19-28, 2001.

Shown at Rotterdam International Film Festival (Cruel Machine) January 28 - February 8, 1998.

Shown at San Francisco International Film Festival April 23 - May 7, 1998.

Shown at Tokyo International Film Festival (in competition) November 1-10, 1997.

Shown at Toronto International Film Festival (New Beat of Japan) September 10-19, 1998.

Cowboy Booking is distributing this film as part of a co-acquisition venture with Antidote Films under the banner Code Red.

Released in United States 1998 (Shown at American Film Market (AFM) in Santa Monica, California February 26 - March 6, 1998.)

Released in United States 1998 (Shown at Rotterdam International Film Festival (Cruel Machine) January 28 - February 8, 1998.)

Released in United States 1998 (Shown at San Francisco International Film Festival April 23 - May 7, 1998.)

Expanded Release in United States Summer 2001 (LA)

Released in United States on Video January 13, 2004

Released in United States July 2001 (Shown at Asian American International Film Festival in New York City July 19-28, 2001.)

Released in United States Summer July 27, 2001

Released in United States November 1997 (Shown at Tokyo International Film Festival (in competition) November 1-10, 1997.)

Released in United States August 3, 2001 (Screening Room; New York City)

Released in United States September 1998 (Shown at Toronto International Film Festival (New Beat of Japan) September 10-19, 1998.)