A Shogunate Elder connives to rule Japan by making his puppet, the Shogun's brother Tsunashige, the next Shogun. The best strategist in Japan, Yamaga, leads a plot to stop the Elder, but ... See full summary »
This is a film I will watch again, once I have a little better understanding of the politics of the time and place. The film is less accessible to those not of Japanese heritage. The Western movement into Japan has caused a serious disruption of order. Lines are drawn. A charismatic Ronin, Hachiro Kiyakawa, is leading forces. He is an accomplished swordsman, deadly and unpredictable. He manages to get people to follow him, even if they are unclear where his allegiances lie. There are times when closeups reveal what appears to be a madman. His energetic disregard for human life is centered on and he continually puts himself in danger, landing on his feet. Eventually, he is victimized by the confused situation he has helped create. I don't pretend to understand everything, but am incredibly impressed by the work of Masahiro Shinoda. This is a stunning film with beautiful images and nonpareil cinematography. He uses flashbacks to show the rise of Kiyakawa and the victimization of his mistress. There is much storytelling that is quite effective. Apparently, this is an early work. I will endeavor to find more of his offerings in the future.
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