14 November 2015 | Leofwine_draca
Looks great, but lacks story
I'm a blood-and-thunder action fan myself, so A TALE OF SAMURAI COOKING wasn't exactly my ideal film; however, I'm occasionally surprised by art-house cinema in general, so I decided to give this slow-burning drama a chance. Plus it has the word 'samurai' in the title, which is promising.
Unfortunately, it turns out to be a largely dull film, a movie whose subtleties are wasted on the international viewer. The story is ostensibly about a young wife teaching her husband the delicate arts of cookery, but in reality it's more about gender politics in Edo era Japan. Scenes of cooking and feasting are actually few and far between and while samurai action is hinted at, it never goes all-out.
So what's this film about then? Well, not a lot, as it happens. It certainly looks fantastic, with close attention to period detail, and the performances are as subtle and realistic as you could wish for. But everything that happens in it feels so slight, so restrained, that I ended up getting bored by the whole thing. When I watch a film, I want to be involved in high stakes drama and tension; I want to be taken out of the humdrum of everyday life to experience human existence at its most dramatic or involving. I didn't get that from A TALE OF SAMURAI COOKING; it didn't even teach me anything new about the human condition.