4 user 38 critic

Killing (2018)

Zan (original title)
Not Rated | | Action, Drama | 24 November 2018 (Japan)
Set during the tumultuous mid-19th century Edo period of Japan, Killing is the story of a masterless samurai or ronin named Ikematsu Sosuke. As the prevalent peace and tranquility are sure ... See full summary »


Shin'ya Tsukamoto


Shin'ya Tsukamoto (screenplay)
2 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »




Credited cast:
Shin'ya Tsukamoto ... Sawamura
Yû Aoi ... Yu
Sôsuke Ikematsu ... Mokunoshin
Stacy Baker ... Melinda (as Dylan Baker)
Kohji Katoh ... Masterless Samurai
Tatsuya Nakamura Tatsuya Nakamura ... Genda
Ryûsei Maeda Ryûsei Maeda


Set during the tumultuous mid-19th century Edo period of Japan, Killing is the story of a masterless samurai or ronin named Ikematsu Sosuke. As the prevalent peace and tranquility are sure to be replaced by war and conflict across the land the swordsman feels restlessness creep upon him. Written by aghaemi

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Action | Drama


Not Rated | See all certifications »

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Did You Know?


The film was part of the line-up at the Toronto Japanese Film Festival's 2019 edition in Toronto, Canada in June 2019. See more »

User Reviews

Zan, not zen
13 April 2019 | by GyatsoLaSee all my reviews

Tzuzuki is a Ronin, a masterless samurai living at the very end of the long period of peace through to the mid 19th Century which made such swordsmen surplus to Japanese society. He seems happy wandering, helping farmers in exchange for food, but trouble is stirring in Edo and he realises he must go there - it is unclear whether out of duty or hope for his own future. He seems to get lucky when a wandering master swordsman asks him to join him on a mission to help the Shogun against his enemies. This seems to set us up for a traditional clash between desire and duty, modernity and tradition, but the film takes a surprising turn when a few tough guy wanderers arrive in the village and Tzuzuki is hit with a fever, meaning he has to stay longer.

The film takes a strange turn when we realise that Tzuzuki is not just reluctant to leave his farmer friends, but is almost pathologically unable to translate his sword skills into the real job of killing men - even deserving men. The fever itself seems to encompass his whole world. Suddenly everything is not what it seems - not the master swordsman, not the sweet village girl who seems to love Tzuzuki, not the tough but seemingly good hearted wanderers.

This is a very modern take on the traditional Samurai genre. Plenty of previous Samurai movies examine the twisted ethos of the warrior class, but few examine so much how killing itself destroys the humanity of the swordsman. It is strikingly filmed and directed - normally I hate shaky-cam films, but its used effectively here to create a hallucinogenic atmosphere of confusion and chaos. The settings are very beautiful and effectively caught by the cinematography and the short running time of the film means that there is no flab at all - its a gripping, tight film, with its only flaw really that we never really get to understand the characters real motivations. Nevertheless, this is definitely one of the best modern samurai films I've seen in some time.

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Release Date:

24 November 2018 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Untitled Samurai Movie See more »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

Kaijyu Theater See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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