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The Scandalous Adventures of Buraikan More at IMDbPro »Buraikan (original title)

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12 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Wonderful witty, interesting, dark, colorful Period Drama

9/10
Author: djhreg from United States
17 July 2005

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.

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Existential comedy/drama with excellent music and design

8/10
Author: Chung Mo from NYC
19 August 2007

A film that will probably befuddle a lot of non-Japanese viewers especially since it really has no compelling plot, the main characters are under-explained and the movie doesn't really have a dramatic rhythm to make the climax seem very important. But, that said there are a lot of wonderful aspects to this film if you are willing to go for it.

A trio of characters in Edo intersect during a time of puritanical social reform. A ner-do-well, Naojiro, wants to become an actor and get his face in prints (this was the Japanese version of the supermarket tabloids in olden times) and he wants to marry a geisha but his overbearing mother disapproves. A man who abandoned his wife and child returns to discover tragedy has befallen his small family. A "buraikan" plots to overthrow the despotic lord who is imposing the strict social reforms.

A distinctive style permeates the entire film. The image composition is excellent with wonderful color design. The strong soundtrack is a quirky but enjoyable mix of Henry Mancini style jazz, traditional Japanese music and some odd musical styling. The acting is strong and does a lot to carry the film for those of us baffled by some of the goings on. While the film is named for the "buraikan" (played by Tetsuro Tamba), it seems the the center of attention is really Naojiro, played by Tatsuya Nakadai. No problem, he's an interesting enough character.

Recommended for those who want something different.

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