Intimidation is a masterclass in tautness. Though a mere 65 minutes in length, the film never feels rushed nor does it lack Hitchcockian plot developments or compelling characters. In addition, its gritty potboiler noir exterior — enjoyable on its own merit — contains pointed subtext on social mobility and status roles. The cinematography is imaginative with stark black and white contrasts and the performances are solid (especially the always great Kô Nishimura). The bank heist scene is particularly well-executed and is as tense as any others I’ve seen.
I’m working my way, in order, through The Criterion Channel’s Japanese Noir selection and Intimidation is one of my favorites so far. My only gripe: though already a short film, I’d like it 20 seconds shorter. In my opinion, the very last thing that happens dulls a potentially devious finish.
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