When a ronin requesting seppuku at a feudal lord's palace is told of the brutal suicide of another ronin who previously visited, he reveals how their pasts are intertwined - and in doing so challenges the clan's integrity.
Peace in 17th-century Japan causes the Shogunate's breakup of warrior clans, throwing thousands of samurai out of work and into poverty. An honorable end to such fate under the samurai code is ritual suicide, or hara-kiri (self-inflicted disembowelment). An elder warrior, Hanshiro Tsugumo (Tatsuya Nakadai) seeks admittance to the house of a feudal lord to commit the act. There, he learns of the fate of his son-in-law, a young samurai who sought work at the house but was instead barbarically forced to commit traditional hara-kiri in an excruciating manner with a dull bamboo blade. In flashbacks the samurai tells the tragic story of his son-in-law, and how he was forced to sell his real sword to support his sick wife and child. Tsugumo thus sets in motion a tense showdown of revenge against the house.Written by
Kevin Rayburn <email@example.com>
This film is in the Official Top 250 Narrative Feature Films on Letterboxd. See more »
After Motome's seppuku, when Omodaka steps forward and chops Motome's head off (supposedly), he visibly stops his swing before striking Motome's neck (naturally, since real swords were used). See more »
This is the best character study & Samurai movie ever made.
I have seen this movie numerous times (at least 10, probably many more), and enjoy it each time. The first couple of times I saw it was right after it came out. It did not have sub-titles, and as my Japanese is not very good, I made some assumptions about the characters, relationships, the plot,etc. When I saw it with sub-titles, I was surprised at how few incorrect assumptions I had made. That I made so few errors is no credit to me, but rather to how well the plot, character development, character relationships, and the overall movie were done.
The movie is not limited to feudal Japan, for it transcends this era. It has lessons, for those who look for this in art. For instance, just one example occurs to me now: It underscores the need for a person to stand on principle, and to maintain their honor, ethics, and dignity, even when those who are the political leaders have long since lost theirs. However for purely entertainment value, the realism, suspense, art, and action could not be better. Words fail to express how this film captivates and entertains. Few films can equal this one. It is a "must see."
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