Quick-Thoughts: Akira Kurosawa’s Ikiru (1952)

Akira Kurosawa Binge Part II of IX

Hey, at least this guy didn’t get into the meth-cooking business like Walter White did when he found out he had cancer. 

I don’t know if I‘d consider Ikiru to be a “masterpiece” but there were positively a gathering of elements that I loved about it. I appreciated the gutting emotion that you get slammed over the head with when you witness people, left and right, resenting how vanilla of an individual our main protagonist is and the calamitous effect these reactions have on him. The entire film is amply devised as this tough wake-up call that begs its audience to stop living their life like a ———— loser before it’s ohhh too late. 

But yeah, I don’t know; some plot points just go on for way too long. I know all this living-life-to-the-fullest stuff is supposed to be a paradoxical mingle of cute and desperate sentiments, but it felt redundant and defectively misplaced. The quality of Ikiru truly comes when you begin to listen in on the layered conversations between the main protagonist and his many “conveniently planted” counterparts that, in general, regard what precisely caused our central character to have such a dull life in the first place. It just killed my interest whenever the movie decided to go on these one-note visual tangents rather than focus on more articulated scenarios that advantageously evolved the themes—which the slightly abrupt third act, thankfully, engineers more of. 

Ikiru is essentially the Wild Strawberries of Akira Kurosawa‘s career or, more like, Wild Strawberries is the Ikiru of Ingmar Bergman’s career, where some old dude begins regretting his past and how he has chosen to live out his life. Either way, like Wild Strawberries, I dug it. It’s a pretty inspiring “get off your ass and do something with your life” tale’s tale. 

Verdict: B

Akira Kurosawa Ranked

“Ikiru” is now available to stream on Vudu, YouTube, Amazon Prime, Google Play, and iTunes. 

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