The Lower Depths

Director: Akira Kurosawa
Year Released: 1957
Rating: 2.0

One of the major strengths of the Renoir version of The Lower Depths was how he turned it into a 'movie' - Kurosawa's later adaptation would rather leave it as a play. This is naturally his decision to make, but the result is stagy - there are only so many ways you can film a single room for an hour and a half and watch some dirty, sore-covered ingrates mouth off at each other. The final act gets a little injection of life, as some of the events transpire outside the building and the characters are able to exercise their vocal chords with some continuous yelling; Kurosawa tops it off with an impromptu song-and-dance number that gets spoiled by (yet another) tragedy. As one would expect, the image composition is meticulous, and the camera always seems to be in the perfect spot.