Thu. Apr 18th, 2024

Role of the Devil

Before entirely taking over us, Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s healing needs time to implant himself in our consciousness. It initially resembles a typical cop, unlike the enigmatic killer in the film’s heart. The movie depicts a damaged but tenacious detective who sets out to discover what happened in a string of killings. Despite their apparent dissimilarity, the murderer used an “X,” or vicious cuts across the chest and neck, to kill each victim.

Different people have admitted to the murders in each instance. Nevertheless, there are a lot of unanswered concerns regarding how the crimes are connected. Has the devil forced them to do it? The plot develops in a menacing yet controlled manner. Cure makes use of a hazy atmosphere, nuanced characterization, and uncertainty. It gradually establishes a vibe, starting like a typical serial murderer from the 1990s.

It is unlike any content in which any primary business or Japanese studio system produces the film, even though it develops in a down poetic key. Cure is more than just an escapist narrative about a cop who are “best friends” with a murderer. It is only a starting point for something more complex and elusive.

Kurosawa’s Narrative Uncertainty

Kurosawa presents serial killer films by prioritizing presentation and psychological themes, presenting images that utilize the genre as traps to ensnare the audience in self-exploration experiences. Despite premiering in 1997, Cure also asserts that it pioneered the J-horror trend in the late 1990s. The second half of Kurosawa’s film features some of the most graphic depictions of supernatural happenings that set it apart from the horror films he has made for the videocassette release.

The movie depends on Kurosawa’s bizarre juxtapositions or startling imagery to carry the grainy, everyday home video format, despite having flat visuals and a cheesy video style. As a result, it lends the movie an air of irony. Cure, however, needs more time- and genre-specific aesthetics that continue to be as intricate as mise-en-scene. Kurosawa employs masterful shots that he extends for a considerable amount of time rather than abrupt cuts and shaky J-horror framing.

We can then discuss the action—or lack thereof. Kurosawa purposefully made a move to try our fortitude. He made us do it out of necessity. His narrative uncertainty, which he purposefully keeps from us, is comparable to mystery literature.

International Recognition

Kurosawa made more than 20 theatrical films and many others for the Japanese television and video markets. His writings span a range of genres, including comedies, adult dramas, shooters, mysteries, and spy thrillers. Many consider Cure to be Kurosawa’s breakthrough film as well. It symbolizes the beginning of pink cinema, a soft-core industry where several Kurosawa generation Japanese filmmakers found success.

Furthermore, it signifies his shift from directing direct-to-video (V-film) productions to the realm of serious filmmaking. While receiving serious attention from critics, Kurosawa’s first film, Cure, began screening outside Japan and playing at international film festivals. Moreover, it gained widespread recognition in 1998 after a Toronto Film Festival screening. It contributes to making it a filmmaker that most people outside of Japan can enjoy.

According to Kurosawa, he at last recognized that his film was a commodity that people outside of Japan valued and comprehended. He may make a distinctive contribution by making his brand of Japanese-set films. The notion seems familiar and sympathetic to viewers because serial killer movies were prevalent in the 1990s. In Cure, a murderer uses seduction to persuade the victim to commit suicide, reflecting 1990s Hollywood’s preoccupation with serial killers.

Exploitation and Sensationalism

We can see the movie as a critique of Hollywood’s overabundance of serial killer thrillers. It also plays with genre conventions by putting less emphasis on the gory act itself. This departure from the typical approach to serial killer storylines might be seen as a sarcastic view of the exploitation and sensationalism that people frequently associate with Hollywood depictions of violence, even though it has psychological implications.

Cure, on the other hand, also tinkers with conventional narrative frameworks. It deliberately defies our expectations. The movie moves slowly, avoids providing straightforward explanations, and places us in uncertain circumstances. The method contests the formulaic nature and has Hollywood movie precedents. Audiences frequently anticipate simple solutions and tidy conclusions at first glance.

Cure parallels how Hollywood occasionally favors safe yet predictable storytelling by departing from the norm. The genre flourished over the following several years after The Silence of the Lambs provided critical and financial legitimacy. Numerous titles, like the one Se7en, dominate the market and follow police officers as they chase down poachers. Cure differs from other typical serial killer stories because of the supernatural component.

Although not entirely up to par, the genre’s components serve as recognizable ornaments rather than unbending rules we must all follow.

Trickiest Query

Inevitably, Kurosawa strayed from the genre’s norm to create something honest yet intimate. He claims that Cure did not begin with a thematic or philosophical perspective. On the other hand, Kurosawa frequently begins his films with simple genres for us to comprehend. He would next consider how he wanted to approach the genre. While watching the news, Kurosawa was inspired to write Cure because the police had recently apprehended a murderer.

The criminal’s neighbor was quoted in the media as making a statement that has become cliched. Kurosawa began questioning when people claimed “he is a nice person.” Imagine if what they claim is accurate. What if the murderer was not at fault? These self- and identity-related issues surround Cure. Are we the culmination of our deeds, or do we have an inner self that exists independently of our outward appearance?

Is it feasible to eliminate one’s inner and exist solely as external if humans have an innate dualism between the interior and exterior? Kurosawa investigates the concepts in ways that result in a frightening realization. Everything is based on the trickiest query, namely, who we are.

Distant and Disconnected from Reality

The film follows Detective Kenichi Takabe as he actively seeks relationships among the many victims who do not share the “X” marks on their bodies. The most recent incident included a man slicing a prostitute’s neck and torso after beating him to death with a pipe. Anyway, it uncovers the whereabouts of the killers as they are actively hiding themselves in the neighbor’s storage cupboard. Takabe finds him naked, like a fetus, with no memories.

Then, he suddenly understood what he had done and started crying. Even stranger, no one person is responsible for the murders. The other victim, who carried an “X,” had absolutely nothing to do with the killer. A man seeking to learn how to control his emotions is preoccupied with achieving order. A situation that does not fit the expected pattern begins to perplex Takabe with unwavering logic.

Takabe is cautioned by his buddy, police psychiatrist Sakuma, not to look for rational reasons. He began questioning whether there was a good reason to commit a crime. Enter Mamiya, a young man who appears distant and wanders around. As if he were experiencing the discovery of his environment for the first time, he perceived the world as cut off from the reality outside. At the beach, a teacher meets Mamiya and actively suspects that he has amnesia.


She takes him home, putting up with Mamiya’s odd antics like switching off the lights, igniting matches, and interrogating the teacher. The teacher killed his wife the following day. With the police and the medics, Mamiya repeats the routine. Takabe’s investigations reveal Mamiya as a shared element, and each encounter ends in a horrible murder. He believed that the questioning was futile.

On the edge of a fugue state, Mamiya became shocked, unsure of his location, and staggered. Mamiya muttered incoherently while the investigator tried to deflect the conversation away from himself. With ease, he directed every inquiry back to the detective. They eventually learn that Mamiya is a graduate student researching personality disorders and mesmerism. Takabe understands that Mamiya’s behavior was explicitly designed to implant lethal hypnotic suggestions on others around him, even though he initially appeared to be detached.

In addition, the worn-out investigator has to take care of his wife, Fumie, who has dementia in an irregular form. She can be seen reading aloud in the movie’s opening scene in a vacant hospital room. When a doctor inquired about the book a while later, she had forgotten about it. It appeared her disease had emptied her mind of all of its memories, just as Mamiya had done to his victims.

Balancing Material Presentation

The protagonist of Bluebeard’s tale, the titular noble’s newest young wife, is intrigued by a locked room that she cannot approach. The young woman uses the key given to her and, driven by her desire to learn what is in the forbidden room, discovers her husband’s former wife hanging from a hook after being slain. Bluebeard intended to murder both his wife and her after learning she was against him.

Nevertheless, just then, her brother intervened to save her. After her husband’s murder, she actively inherited his money. The story’s lesson is that knowledge is power. Actively, the young wife follows the key, which leads her to new information that shatters her impressionable worldview with its terrible nature. Even still, it is impossible to comprehend how even the most appalling realizations bring about success.

The story’s conclusion introduces Cure‘s themes. Through lengthy master and medium shots that give the audience the perspective of an impartial observer, Kurosawa presents all the ideas. He shot the graphic murder scene at the same distance as the part where Fumie’s doctor was speaking. Other times, directors are compelled to adopt the look. As a result, they make the material harder for more impact.

Hallucinations Aesthetics

Unlike other directors, Kurosawa understood that showing terrible violence with specific facts would have a terrifying effect. Kurosawa departs from his typically aggressive approach to demonstrate that Takabe is not impervious to Mamiya’s capacity to sneak into his victims’ thoughts without warning. Takabe’s mind begins to experience hallucinations regarding Fumie’s suicide and flashes of animals from Mamiya’s residence.

Aesthetics abruptly bend our expectations. The jarring images that Kurosawa inserts into the movie also break up the film’s long takes and measured edits. Takabe’s susceptibility to hypnotic ideas is evident. Since then, Cure actively depicts the coexistence of the conscious and subconscious minds of heroes who are suffering. Take numerous pictures of Takabe inside the bus while the clouds pass through the windows.

Takabe is about to lose it because of his primary suspect and evasive wife. Kurosawa tries to make a connection between two parts of Takabe’s life—Fumie’s dementia and Mamiya’s hollow hatred—as he becomes more and more irate. In her current state, Fumie is a person’s outermost layer. Even though the killer is an expert manipulator of people, Takabe and we are still unsure of his objectives.

According to reports, Mamiya purges his victims’ thoughts, reducing them to their most basic selves.


Sakuma asserted that hypnosis would not cause a person to lose his or her fundamental morals or turn violent. In any case, Mamiya is motivated by more than just murder. Another interpretation claims that Mamiya makes homicide morally acceptable by releasing his victim from societal ties. Mamiya releases those he manipulated, allowing his victims to leave their responsibilities and join the turmoil, but Cure is unsure of the details.

When Mamiya guarantees Takabe that he will be resurrected identical to Mamiya, he compares the procedure to rebirth. The term alludes to a condition, and Kurosawa characterizes the disorder as a brutal and ingrained denial of who we are. It is about how law and society lead people to deviate from their inherent nature. The movie references the idea of the collective unconscious by using a collection of archetypes in which the study of reoccurring patterns, symbols, and themes is explored.

The unfathomable nature of Mamiya’s power connects with the collective unconscious, suggesting a connection to the most introspective aspects of the human spirit. Unconsciously, the movie asks questions about everyday human experiences and people’s hidden connections to one another. One might need to push over the constraints and restrictions of our social value system, which includes things like justice, law, and morality, to become entirely sane.

Psychological Contagion

Actively, certain societal expectations and obligations can prove detrimental. They can only be changed by actively eliminating them through radical change. In Cure, the substance that bears the name Mamiya uncovers a plot in which he actively embodies a sinister archetype. He manipulated the collective anxieties and weaknesses of the characters, causing them to forget things and strengthening their shadows.

Takabe’s commitment to his roles as a husband and detective causes him to lose himself due to his beliefs. Ignoring Sakuma’s warnings, Takabe finds himself having an obsession with Mamiya, who gave him a choice between his role as a detective and husband. The characters’ meeting with Mamiya causes a group awakening and reveals the together component of their subconscious.

The movie addresses the idea that one person’s experiences and actions can impact others by making it so relatable. The characters’ susceptibility to Mamiya’s influence demonstrates the limits between a person’s psychology and possible psychological contagion that they can cross. On the one hand, Kurosawa follows the fundamental principles of serial killer films. In addition to being identical to the ending of Se7en, Takabe will kill the assassin to finish his meticulously planned strategy.

Who Are We?

With any genre, the most captivating elements frequently deviate from the established formula. Cure‘s complex narrative and form play are subsumed by a much more gripping psychological and existential conundrum. The norm in the genre that produced movies like Se7en leads to sophisticated independent filmmaking that resists any attempt to categorize it using traditional labels.

Despite having the appearance and feel of a police procedural and eventually becoming a horror movie, Cure tackles the significant issue of what drives people to act in particular ways. After a while, Mamiya asks us who we are while we are in our subconscious.


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