A young lord attempts to combat the corruption endemic to the Shogunate bureaucracy, only to be placed in an impossible conflict of duties. He refuses to pay the "customary" bribe expected by a Chancellor sent from the Shogunate to teach him the etiquette for receiving envoys from the Emperor. In revenge, the Chancellor goads the lord into drawing his sword when the envoys are present, a crime punishable by death. The young lord is forced to commit ritual suicide for this crime. His vassals are ordered to turn over their lords estate for confiscation, forbidden to take revenge for their lords death, then disbanded as a clan. To obey the Shogun, the lords former samurai must follow those orders, but to be loyal to oaths they swore to their lord and have justice, they must avenge him. This conflict of obligations is the primary dilemma in Japanese society, which is why this story is considered their national epic. The story is richly woven and the film worth seeing for the gorgeous art ... Written by
Mike O'Brien <email@example.com>
I have actually seen this film several times because it was my college boyfriend's favorite movie and I was dragged to the local art house to see it 5 times. But I have to say I found something new in it each time. While I agree with the previous reviewer that it can be confusing, the story is legendary in Japan and the film makers didn't feel the need to explain elements the Japanese audience would be familiar with. I suggest a second viewing will make it more coherent. I have yet to see a more recent samurai/martial arts film match the suspense and beauty of the snow scene or the heartbreak at the end of the first half. It is a visually rich and rewarding movie experience.
18 of 19 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?