Dai-bosatsu tôge (1966)
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- The Sword of Doom
- 120 min.
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Absolute dynamite. One of the finest samurai films there is. It is unique, and from the looks of it, unseen and under-appreciated by many.
The film has everything. Tatsuya Nakadai and Toshiro Mifune together, thrilling sword-fighting scenes and a surprisingly deep and branching storyline. There are sub-plots, that you'd think don't amount to nothing, but they do, after you give some thought to it. And it is all presented in a very interesting way.
Nakadai's character is the centerpiece of the film and what a sublime character it is. It is rare to see a movie revolve around a character like that, and he isn't even some generic villain. Nakadai's performance is one of his greatest, only a notch below his role in Seppuku and Human Condition. Toshiro Mifune has a relatively small role, but it is important nevertheless.
After doing some research, there was apparently going to be two more films involving the same characters, but they never came to be. So we are left to analyze the ending as a stand-alone, and I think the ending indeed is fantastic and completes this masterpiece. The movie has a nihilistic statement and the ending seems to be the embodiment of that.
The sword is the soul. Study the soul to know the sword. Evil mind, evil sword.
One of the greatest movies of all time.
Not only one of the great classics of the samurai genre, but one of the most effective portrayals of paranoia on film. Or is it still paranoia when everyone really is out to get you? 8/10
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In 4 official lists
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This movie ranks #25 in Galloway's Samurai Film Handbook & Companion
This movie ranks #103 in iCheckMovies's Most Favorited
This movie ranks #144 in Doubling the Canon
This movie ranks #305 in The Criterion Collection