Murder by Proxy

Cure, an offbeat thriller from Kiyoshi Kurosawa, is first to hit L.A.

A police detective (Koji Yakusho, star of Eureka and Shall We Dance?) is confronted with a series of inexplicable homicides. All have the same M.O., but they involve different perpetrators, who remember their actions but cannot explain why they did it. The police finally discover the common link: They've all recently encountered a seemingly amnesiac drifter (Masato Hagiwara) who is somehow inducing them to commit the crimes. This 1997 Japanese thriller is the first film from the prolific writer and director Kiyoshi Kurosawa--no relation to the somewhat better known Akira, as he always has to point out--to receive a release in the United States. With luck, it will motivate some American company to remedy this deficiency. The movie is not always satisfying as a standard thriller, nor is it always clear; but it's never dull, and it displays a sensibility whose weirdness is its own recommendation. Its combination of grotesque violence, lurid abnormal psychology and the blurring of reality, fantasy and the supernatural put it firmly in the long tradition that runs from Poe and Gogol to Fritz Lang and (most blatantly, in influence) David Lynch. In the 15 years preceding Cure, Kiyoshi K. directed six features; the success of Cure was such that he directed six more in the four years since. This burst of productivity isn't surprising: There is, throughout this film, the sense of a filmmaker in love with the possibilities of cinema, filled with ideas and champing at the bit to get them on celluloid.

 
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