The mother of a feudal lord’s only heir is kidnapped away from her husband by the lord. The husband and his samurai father must decide whether to accept the unjust decision, or risk death to get her back.
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Kobayashi is one of my favourite directors, this does not disappoint. It is extremely angry and passionate, a trademark of Kobayashi's best work (bar Kwaidan) and Mifune was the perfect choice, as he is such a passionate onscreen performer. The atmosphere, like Harakiri, is pressure cooker and we care for the characters. However, it did drag a little at the end which was a shame. 4/5 Brilliant
Toshiro Mifune is the greatest samurai in the history of cinema and whoever denies it should do harakiri. This is an excellent film. Made with knowledge of rhythm, impeccable performances, balanced tables and an unforgettable story.
The social dilemma of the film - bureaucratic traditionalism vs. the sanctity of the family unit - is just as heartbreaking and wrought as Kobayashi's other works. This is Sirk with katanas; heightened family melodrama underscored by incredible B&W cinematography. The extended-family-encounter scene is as brilliantly staged and handled as the action-heavy ending.