Cure (review)

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A series of gruesome murders is plaguing Tokyo: the victims die from loss of blood through an X-shaped incision in the neck, which severs both carotid arteries; the unlikely perpetrators hover nearby, remembering nothing about the crime. The police detective in charge of the case, Ken-ichi Takabe (Koji Yakusho, weary and sorrowful), wonders how killers who know nothing of one another nor of the unpublicized details of previous crimes can murder with the same M.O. Writer/director Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s acclaimed psychological drama (a festival favorite worldwide) puts a meditative spin on the serial-killer genre, focusing as much on the intellectual and emotional toll the investigation takes on Takabe as it does on the who- and howdunit. And in Kunio Mamiya (Masato Hagiwara), the mysterious drifter and former psychology student who wanders onto the scene, Kurosawa (“no relation,” the director says) creates a chillingly credible psychopath, a Lechter who, with encouraging whispers, can talk the unsuspecting into doing terrible things. With long, uncut takes in which tension builds simply and quietly, Cure will have you under its spell.

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