3 December 2015 | mevmijaumau
Revenge is a good example of a zankoku jidaigeki (cruel jidaigeki) film. In other words, a samurai film criticizing the feudal system and the Bushido code, a dark film where everything is doomed from the start and where there are no positive characters, only slightly less negative ones. Director Tadashi Imai's other z.j. film, Cruel Tales of Bushido, may be a better example and a better film, but Revenge is nevertheless a striking film, one of the most underrated samurai movies.
The film is a harsh critique of the mentality at the time, rendering the Bushido code as pointless in comparison to human life and criticizing the feudal clans for the inhumane efforts they resort to in order to save face. The plot is gripping, but the film's main problem lies in the way in which it was told. The first thirty minutes rapidly introduce a large number of characters and you have to pick up on them fast or you'll get confused. Also, the transitions between the present and the flashbacks are barely noticeable and you have to pay close attention there as well.
The film's main strength lies in the explosive main performance by Kinnosuke Nakamura, but also in the impressive fight choreography and the misty B&W photography. I also have to mention the final 30 minutes, which are just incredible.