Partly adapted from Ed McBain's 1957 detective novel King's Ransom, High And Low is a curious entry in Akira Kurosawa's back catalogue. Split into two distinct parts, each with a contrasting stylistic approach, the story focuses on wealthy business executive Kingo Gondo (Toshirô Mifune), whose life is thrown into chaos after a kidnapper targets his son but snatches his chauffeur's boy by mistake.
Kurosawa and the audience observe Mifune as he agonises over whether to pay up or not. An abrupt shift in pace and location follows his angst-ridden decision as the detectives flood the hot, bustling streets below his home in search of a culprit.
Despite the jostling camera and increase in tempo, however, there's never enough tension generated from the cops' eager efforts to close the case. In the end, it's Kurosawa's earlier patient approach, combined with Mifune's pitch-perfect performance, that linger longest.