17 September 2005 | demonicpazuzu
Amazing film - but NOT martial arts action
I bought this expecting a cheesy excuse to see acrobats in black pajamas fight one another, it's a guilty pleasure, but its one I've had since youth - and I'm entitled to nostalgia as much as any other grown man who still says the original Star Wars trilogy are the best films of all time. Upon watching this film, i became increasingly delighted to find that this is a drama that involves characters that are ninja in feudal Japan, and what a great job they did in producing this. First off, the Director really made this film... every shot is perfect, placed together perfectly and really lets you seep into a believable ancient Japanese atmosphere. The script and story is also top notch with highly involved character development that takes it time to entangle all the players in the same drama and at the same time offer a multiplicity of perspective. All the characters are human, they all have their outlooks and goals concerned in the story, and they all add a little bit of a philosophy to the mix. That being said, there is a lot of dialog, but it always keeps it's focus instead of trailing off and losing context. The acting too, is top notch. Everyone brings something fresh and diverse, and colors their performance with so many emotions and situations. This film focuses on its realism, on putting you there, on letting you know and travel with the characters and the acting is one of the sturdy legs that this formula stands on. I can't help but be reminded of Kurosawa throughout this epic, and for anyone familiar with him... it is a high compliment.
All in all, this is a great film. But it is not a martial arts film, it is a drama thats focus is on story and realism. If you are into good film, and not just 'Revenge of the Ninja' style cheese, then i highly recommend this film. It might be hard to get your hands on here in the states, but if you can find it on e-bay or whatever - got for it.