28 September 2001 | nowyat
Samurai swords, demons-ghosts, and flute music...
Maybe I'm strange, but I thought this was the best movie I have ever seen. It seems long, but short too, as you watch it. And maybe, to us Americans, the kabuki style make-up is slightly KISS-like. Still, it was beautiful and thoughtful. I can't even begin to describe the plot. Think Charles Dickens crossed with H.P. Lovecraft. Anyway, here's what I think may have happened... an extremely good-looking Japanese Christian denounces his faith in the beginning, bitter about the whole Shogan clan system and all his friends being killed. He becomes an eternal satanic warlock, who is able to raise other disgruntled spirits from the dead. Over time they get up a group of undead who plan to topple the government. (Not, perhaps without some justification, but remember, they are evil.)
On the other side, a one-eyed, fabulously talented swordsman. He's more of a Buddhist, not so interested in eternal vengeance and all. He goes to the most evil swordsman in Japan, and asks him to make him a sword, because only a creature of evil can create a sword that can kill evil ghosts, (or gods). There are many wonderful scenes besides the sword making one. (The swordmaker gives his all and dies.) The Shogun lord is enamoured of one of the undead group, (she's very lovely). I think this may have been his ex-wife whom he had murdered. When the royal court goes out hunting (with beaters dressed in black and white french prisoner costumes???), as the villagers flee before them she says "Oh look, there's a nice deer to shoot", (or something to that effect, and all the courtiers and eventually the prince, begin shooting the villagers with arrows, sort of a mass hallucination). They tie them up on stakes, still thinking they are deer. It was all very surreal. If you like excellent sword fights, good mob scenes, nice nature scenery, and theological conflict, this movie has it all and more. You MUST see it. Oh, and it all ends in flames. Lots and lots of flames. A must see for pyromaniacs as well.