The Bad Sleep Well

Between samurai masterpieces The Hidden Fortress and Yojimbo, Toshiro Mifune and director Akira Kurosawa switched it up with this draggy boardroom thriller about corporate malfeasance and an infiltrating exec (Mifune) out for elaborate revenge against his company’s corrupters. It’s Kurosawa’s unofficial gloss on Hamlet, but to make it sound sexier, think of it as Munich meets Enron. On the plus side, The Bad Sleep Well feels stunningly topical, it has a cool title, and Mifune boils brightly (of his enemies, he cries, ”Even now they sleep soundly, grins on their faces…. I can never hate them enough!”). But the film isn’t topflight Kurosawa: He shoots much of the interior action from mystifying distances, and his pacing slacks. The last half hour feels like an HR meeting that won’t wrap up. EXTRAS A booklet with two excellent analyses of the movie, plus a 33-minute making-of doc that regrettably features neither Mifune nor Kurosawa. And demerits for a plot description on the DVD box that, in its first sentence, gives away Mifune’s motive for vengeance, a surprise that doesn’t pop until the 80-minute mark.

The Bad Sleep Well
  • Movie
  • 150 minutes