Aru kyohaku

dir. Koreyoshi Kurahara

TIFF Cinematheque - Retrospective

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An ambitious bank executive is blackmailed into participating in a robbery scheme in director Koreyoshi Kurahara's scintillating pocket-size noir.
A lean, efficient crime thriller from prolific Nikkatsu vet Koreyoshi Kurahara, Intimidation focuses on Takita (Nobuo Kaneko), an ambitious, rising bank manager at a regional branch clawing his way to the top of his firm by any means necessary — most often by walking all over his meek underling and childhood friend Nakaike (Akira Nishimura). On the verge of his promotion to head office, Takita has his world upended when a mysterious blackmailer appears with proof that Takita has been cooking the books at his branch. There is only one way for Takita to avoid exposure: help the blackmailer rob the bank where he works. A brilliant Japanization of American film noir, this tightly plotted and finely wrought little gem displays Kurahara's caustic view of Japanese class relations and his country's hypocritical culture of success.