Beautifully shot, wonderful costumes, exceptional poetic imagery and majestic array of classically trained posturing women. However this film is amazingly obtuse, generally slow, incredibly dull minimalist payoff, improbable impregnation, and a couple of instances of Evil Dead style blood spray that seem very out of place. The political intrigue is neat, but that does not justify the pace or the ending, or the fact that many of the seemingly incidental plot spurs remain unresolved. I can appreciate that this is an attempt to recapture the classic style and posturing of the old Japanese & Chinese stage play forms and historical yarns like The Tale of Genji. Unfortunately, while beautiful, the film lacks the depth and loaded nuances of the classic form, and a superficial take on classical theater is far too shallow to really herald as a masterpiece. A good film to watch for visual form, but not a good example of story depth.
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