10 March 2021 | kaljic
This is a great story expertly done about the transition period in Japan, from the Samurai to modern periods. This movie is an interested twist on The Seven Samurai of Kurosawa, this movie proves there is more than one way to skin a cat.
A small poor farming community is found within the dominion of a feudal lord. This lord from time to time claims the local horses for his own personal purposes, further impoverishing the town. What well-off, influential citizens of the town decide that enough is enough and realize they are plunging further and further in poverty. This group - the magnificent nine - decide to accumulate a sum of money, lend it to the feudal lord, and force him out of his position when they enforce to collect the interest loaned.
This summary does not spoil the enjoyment of the movie. That enjoyment is obtained in seeing how the town accumulate the capitol, how long their plan takes, the internal tensions in the group, the ups and downs in executing the plan, and the final rewards.
This is an interesting take on a well-worn paradigm in movie history. The innovation of this movie is that instead of fighting an outside threat with brute force, the townspeople battle the feudal lord through financial means, allowing him to drown in debt. All they want is their horses returned.
There have been many, many copy-cats to Kurosawa's movie. Some are downright terrible. But not this one. The movie is so convincingly executed you feel you have been provided a window into 1850s Japan. The attention to detail, from the buildings in the town to the dress of the local peoples is perfect.
I saw this movie during a trans-continental flight to Europe. I was looking forward to the DVD release when I returned. That day has unfortunately not arrived. Maybe some day.