Critic Reviews

76

Metascore

Based on 11 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
88
Casually paced and filled with telling detail, Yamada's delicate drama with swordplay (there's not much, but what there is packs an emotional wallop) transcends its specific setting in its depiction of Katagiri's internal struggle.
83
Entertainment Weekly
The Hidden Blade is tranquil, touching, and, in its climactic sword fight, excitingly real.
83
The restrained drama both punctures the mythic ideal of the samurai culture (trained as fighters, they mostly serve as clan bureaucrats) and spins a romantic portrait of one man who values principle over protocol despite the cost to his reputation.
80
Village Voice
Yamada's decidedly undazzling yet expressive filmmaking approaches classicism, from a sensei training session captured in one lengthy shot to the final showdown, seen with shifting points of view that suggest a relativist unease with the cut-and-dried judgments of war culture.
75
The A.V. Club
Builds slowly--maybe too slowly--to a mano-a-mano standoff, just like "The Twilight Samurai," and just like the earlier film, the new one presents its climactic swordfight matter-of-factly, with no superheroics and a lot of hesitation.
75
New York Daily News
Both epic and intimate, this impassioned samurai drama is for anyone who's ever watched a movie and muttered, "They just don't make 'em like they used to."
75
Deeply affecting, "Blade'' portrays an oddly elegant way of life that will soon be like the era in that other movie, "Gone With the Wind."
70
Though less powerful than Mr. Yamada's "Twilight Samurai" (2002), The Hidden Blade is an affecting portrait of the impact of profound change on people with limited options.
70
Salon.com
It's a sensitive, slow-moving 19th century samurai drama that will appeal to that tiny cadre of filmgoers who savor the classic Japanese films of Mizoguchi and Inagaki.
63
New York Post
Bears more than a passing resemblance in story and form to "The Twilight Samurai," but stands on its own as a pleasant, if unremarkable, romance.

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