I think this is the first movie by Kurosawa that I've seen and it was such a good experience.
The basic plot of the story involves a corruption investigation between a contacting company and the local government of a city in Japan and one man's actions which, over the course of the film, threaten the circle of executives who are alleged to be involved in a kickback scheme.
On the surface, the movie's premise seems cliched and predictable. But very little of this movie is predictable, at least not predictable for any longer than the length of a given scene.
The cinematography and editing is top notch, as is the acting. The movie is a little more than two and half hours, but outside of a scene or two towards the end of the movie, the movie moves by really quickly. I only looked up at the time twice. Once when the movie was about 45 minutes in and the next time when it seemed that the film was about to climax at about the two and a quarter hour mark. It's really well structured and unlike a vigilante trying to take down a ring of corruption like Michael Clayton, you really feel empathy and a strong connection to the sense of personal emotional cost that their actions are taking on them.
I won't give the ending away, but it's a memorable one..
It's available on Hulu and on DVD.com; Netflix's DVD rental service.
If you're in a mood to catch up on some classic cinema or simply want to watch a really good movie and aren't pressed for time, WATCH THIS FILM.