film 5 of 8


Draft Review by Abby Welling Jul 16, 2015

Great survey class introduction, with its stylized Japanese stasis (long conversations, especially within still, stylized places) and western action, Mifune is earth-shakingly charismatic, and the film is a real textbook study of how to create sympathy and admiration for a protagonist, including tics and apparent flaws; it’s escapist action but by no means mindless, the first big fight is a delight in its absurd unrealism, the second (when he has to kill all the guards because otherwise the bad guys will know of his treachery) is also absurd and unreal, but one starts to feel the moral horror of all these heroic conventions, and of course the blood-bath at the end, which is a bit much though still mighty cool, caps it all quite Unforgiven-ly–death hurts and is permanent and is cause for great sorrow; secondary characters move this above mere fun, the apparently fussy but much wiser wife and daughter of the captive, the converted hostage who keeps popping out of his prison to give advice and share in celebrations