In Medieval Japan, an elderly warlord retires, handing over his empire to his three sons. However, he vastly underestimates how the new-found power will corrupt them and cause them to turn on each other...and him.
War in Georgia, Apkhazeti region in 1990. An Estonian man Ivo has stayed behind to harvest his crops of tangerines. In a bloody conflict at his door, a wounded man is left behind, and Ivo is forced to take him in.
A wandering samurai, Sanjuro, is drawn into local politics. The Superintendent of a clan is plotting to take over the clan by implicating the Chamberlain in corrupt activities (activities the Superintendent is actually responsible for). Part of the plan involves killing off the Chamberlain's staff and, in protecting them, Sanjuro sides with them. The supporters are massively outnumbered so it will require all of Sanjuro's cunning and swordcraft to ensure the Superintendent does not succeed in his evil plan.Written by
Sanjuro is not one of Kurosawa's great films, but it shows him relaxed and having fun, deconstructing the jidai-geki (samurai film) genre with tongue firmly in cheek.
The film lacks the meticulous visual style of Yojimbo, but it is very well photographed, with some extremely fluid cinematography and those effortlessly artful group compositions that only Kurosawa seems to be able to do. The plot is a little exposition-heavy, but it's always swift-moving and never comes close to taking itself seriously.
Watching Toshiro slice apart all those enemies in the various battle scenes with nary a bloodstain in sight, I did find myself wishing the folks at Toho had sprung for a few squibs. But all is set right in the brilliant final swordfight, which is worth the price of admission.
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