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A Fugitive From The Past Blu-ray Review

“A Fugitive From The Past” is an underseen gem. 

Based on the novel by Tsutomu Minakami and written for the screen by Naoyuki Suzuki, 1965’s “A Fugitive From The Past” is a post-war story set in Japan in 1947. The story begins in Hokkaido where a typhoon is tearing through town and causing a ferry to sink. While this disaster is going on, 3 men are robbing a pawn shop (and burning it to the ground). As the 3 make a run for it, 2 of them die in the getaway leaving one survivor (Takichi Inukai). Did he kill them or betray them? It’s unclear. Takichi stops off at a brothel and meets a prostitute (Yae Sugito) who he is very generous to from a financial perspective. Hot on the trail of Takichi is a police Detective (Yumisaka) who is tirelessly trying to solve this case and find the remaining criminal. What happens next? That would be telling, but there is a 10 year time jump which continues to follow these 3 central characters. 

“A Fugitive From The Past” is a very well regarded film in Japan, but until now, it has never been released in the U.S. It’s easy to see why director Tomo Uchida’s film has garnered so much acclaim as it’s a tense character drama filled with rich characterization. Despite running 183 minutes, there’s never a wasted moment here in this crime-drama and police procedural about obsession, guilt, murder, and the past. It’s a supremely well paced and gritty story that captures your attention from the get go. Normally, police procedurals can get too bogged down by cliches and formulas, but ‘Fugitive’ is anything but that. It’s a sweeping tale about the interconnected lives of these 3 characters that goes in directions you don’t expect. 

The performances are excellent across the board from Rentaro Mikuni (Takichi), Sachiko Hidari (Yae), and Ken Takakura (Detective Yumisaka). Not only do they make these characters come to life, but they play off each other so well too. Granted, most of the time they aren’t on screen together as they have their own separate character journeys, but when they do meet it’s electric.


Presentation: 2.40:1 1080p. How does it look? The B&W film gets a nice quality transfer that maintains the gritty look of the film.

Audio Track: Japanese Original Uncompressed 1.0 Mono. How does it sound? The track is satisfactory for Mono.

* Theatrical trailer.
* Image gallery
* A booklet featuring credits and essays by David Baldwin and by Inuhiko Yomota.
* An intro/appreciation by Jasper Sharp.
* Tomo Uchida filmography
* 6 scene specific commentaries by film professors and scholars Daisuke Miyao, Aaron Gerow, Irene Gonzalez-Lopez, Erik Homenick, Earl Jackson, and Alexander Zahlten. Topics range from the score, cinematography, Tomu Uchida and more. 

February 5, 2023 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , ,

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