Criterion Review: The Samurai Trilogy

★★★★★ Sadly overlooked by western audiences, Hiroshi Inagaki's superlative Samurai Trilogy is the definitive on screen depiction of legendary 17th-century swordsman Miyamoto Musashi. 1954's Samurai I: Musashi Miyamoto begins with Takezo (Toshiro Mifune) losing the battle of Sekigahara with his friend Matahachi (Rentarô Mikuni) and on the run as a fugitive. Both men are brash and inexperienced, but where Matahachi is cowardly and lecherous, Takezo is full of inner turmoil, horribly aware of his inadequacies and lashing out at Matahachi and the women who shelter them after Sekigahara.

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