Wonderful witty, interesting, dark, colorful Period Drama
Nominally this movie fits into the "Jidaigeki" (Period Drama) genre. However, this movie is much more interesting with funny, complex characters. Tamba Testsuro (the head of Japanese secret service in "You Only Live Twice") is outstanding is the "lone wolf" Buraikan - a kind of good-hearted, if ruthless and highly clever monk. Nakadai Tatsuyo is also funny, eerie and compelling as the handsome, never-do-well, lazy fortune teller.
The story is set during the "Tempo Reform" period of Mizuno Tadakuni (1793-1851). Lord Mizuno was an extreme moralist and tried to outlaw more or less anything pleasurable. His reasoning was that things like staged plays, posters of actors, popular novels, expensive meals, cakes, dolls, paintings, etc... were wastes of the country's resources and contributed to the decline of the national moral fiber. Not a very fun-loving guy.
The story in the movie concerns several characters living in an entertainment area (probably Asakusa or Yoshiwara) who become involved with a band of rebellious underground actors.
The movie has everything: multiple, well-developed, interleaved story lines. Well developed individual characters. Some eroticism, a lot of traditional art, many funny sequences, suspense, action.
This is an excellent movie, especially for lovers of Japanese history and art.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?