February 17 to March 3, 1860, inside Edo castle. A group of assassins wait by Sakurada Gate to kill the lord of the House of Ii, a powerful man in the Tokugawa government, which has ruled ... See full summary »
The mother of a feudal lord's only heir is kidnapped away from her husband by the lord. The husband and his samurai father must decide whether to accept the unjust decision, or risk death to get her back.
Gennosuke, a clan retainer, kills one of the clan ministers as part of a plot to achieve reform. He is pursued by his former comrades, each hoping to complete the vendetta put on Gennosuke by the clan. With the help of a master swordsman, Yamane, Gennosuke has a chance at survival. Written by
Jim Beaver <firstname.lastname@example.org>
As others have mentioned, this is a solid film about corruption among feudal samurai. The acting and cinematography are both good and the evolution in the characters throughout the film is solid. The action scenes, while not all too common, are very frenetic and gripping.
It is easy to see why this was a Criterion release. There are certainly a number of good samurai movies, but this one isn't like all the others. The title may easily be confused in English with "Sword of Doom" and the protagonist does look quite a bit like Tatsuya Nakadai, but these movies and their themes are completely different.
The movie also stayed with me after watching it. It left me thinking about cults, fraternities and clans. Individuals who dedicate themselves most selflessly to a cause or group, aren't they the easiest group members to sacrifice?
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