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Yojimbo's Movie Reviews (2306)

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Twilight Samurai, The ( Tasogare Seibei ) 
"The Twilight Samurai" by Yojimbo
3/4 stars

This Oscar nominated historical drama stars Hiroyuki Sanada as a junior samurai with far less interest in battle than caring for his young daughters and senile mother causing him to be a source of amusement to his colleagues and embarrassment to his extended family. This is a very thoughtful period piece set during times of change towards the end of the feudal period of Japan's history. Hiroyuki Sanada puts in a very sensitive performance as the unwilling swordsman who is humble and selfless in his ambitions; this in fact is the crux of the story, rather than glory and action. There is in fact very little action to speak of, although the final duel is brilliantly done. It is more an elegant period drama cum love story about a man's struggle for dignity in adverse conditions and the wonderfully understated performances and direction make for a delightfully artful experience. The absence of blood and guts may disappoint those looking for an action packed hack and slasher, but those seeking something more cerebral will find plenty to enjoy. A finely made and intelligent story very much in the tradition of Kurosawa in general, and the likes of Red Beard in particular.


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