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A young lord attempts to combat the corruption endemic to the Shogunate bureaucracy, only to be placed in an impossible conflict of duties. He refuses to pay the "customary" bribe expected by a Chancellor sent from the Shogunate to teach him the etiquette for receiving envoys from the Emperor. In revenge, the Chancellor goads the lord into drawing his sword when the envoys are present, a crime punishable by death. The young lord is forced to commit ritual suicide for this crime. His vassals are ordered to turn over their lords estate for confiscation, forbidden to take revenge for their lords death, then disbanded as a clan. To obey the Shogun, the lords former samurai must follow those orders, but to be loyal to oaths they swore to their lord and have justice, they must avenge him. This conflict of obligations is the primary dilemma in Japanese society, which is why this story is considered their national epic. The story is richly woven and the film worth seeing for the gorgeous art ...Written by
Mike O'Brien <email@example.com>
There is not much more that I can add to Michael Stephens' review. As the film closed, I, too, had tears running down my face in awe of what had transpired, not only because of the greatness of this film, but the courage and loyalty of the men and women depicted in this magnificent story.
I am a Caucasian American, but I have a deep love for Asian culture, especially the Japanese culture, so I have a little insight to their way of thinking. I agree with Michael that many Americans will not be able to completely identify with certain events in the film. Nevertheless, you must have a heart of stone if you cannot feel SOMETHING for what happens in the film.
Yes, this is a long movie, but I found I wanted more. The story, the acting, directing, EVERYTHING was MAGNIFICENT!!! And, of course, there was TOSHIRO MIFUNE, brilliant as always even in this limited role. If you are a fan of Japanese cinema, you will see MANY familiar faces. And, to top it off, the music was composed by the GREAT Akira Ifukube.
My only complaint is the DVD. As beautiful as this print is, it still looks like it needs to be restored. I can't imagine how wonderful that would look!! Also, some extras like a short background story would be helpful to those that have no real knowledge of Japanese history. I CANNOT recommend this film enough!!
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