- Once (2006)
- All the President's Men (1976)
- Being John Malkovich (1999)
- In the Year of the Pig (1968)
- In The Mood For Love (2000)
- Hole, The (1960)
- Tokyo Story (1953)
- Ocean’s Eleven Blu-Ray Review
- Jurassic Park (1993)
- Gilda (1946)
- Rounders (1998)
- Masque of the Red Death, The (1964)
- Django Unchained (2012)
- Fat City (1972)
- Amélie (2001)
- All That Jazz (1979)
- Night of the Hunter, The (1955)
- King of Comedy, The (1983)
- Manhattan (1979)
- Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (1985)
- Sullivan's Travels (1941)
- Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, The (1994)
- Hecklefest Four-Word Film Reviews! August '12 - Week 4
- Playtime (1967)
- Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)
- Haunted Castle, The (1921)
- Last Wave, The (1977)
- Naked Lunch (1991) * Weird and Wacky *
- Phantom Carriage, The (1921)
- Lolita (1962)
Samurai Rebellion (1967) * Top Pick *
Genre: Period Samurai Drama (Japan)
Directed By: Masaki Kobayashi (The Human Condition Trilogy • Harakiri)
Overview: When a Japanese household is made to take in the disgraced rebellious concubine of a feudal Lord, they find her to be a wonderful and loving wife. When the Lord asks for her return, the family is at odds: disgrace the family name by refusing or disgrace personal love and honour in accepting?
Sadly, Masaki Kobayashi is a name I've just learned. I've also never heard of any of his other films. This means that I have to go on a big-ass film detour and find this master's works for fear that I might miss something as good as this work of emotion-high perfection and directorial genius. Toshirô Mifune, however, is a staple samurai film star whose name I definitely do know, and so should you all.
Discipline is the most obvious thing we witness in the shooting style of Samurai Rebellion. Imagine yourself in an art gallery where the show is one painting after another being unveiled, with hundreds of panels telling the tale with a perfect and constant use of the rule of thirds, with background design as intricate as the costumes, with high art playing the storyteller to these chiaroscuro images. This is a vision so well put together that it inspires creation or one so perfect as to make you give up at the futility that you could even hope to come this close to greatness.
The constant walking-on-eggshells style of deferential speech sets us rightly in the feudal Japan system of thought. All the while, discourses on love and honour are not ballooned into dramatic flourishes, as the writer had no doubt that we understood these truths through the actions of our players, rather than in what they spoke. When characters did speak, it was never something to fill the air, it was to immerse us deeper in the culture and the personalities of the people in this bind.
The story is simple at its core while still having suspenseful drama tossing in twists that in hindsight lead right where it should have, yet problem after self-fulfilling problem leads to a conclusion that is genuine. The overview above cinches it perfectly, but the ride is one escalating thrill after another. The politics of war are seldom a boring adventure.
It's easy to split up Period Samurai films into two camps: the superheroic, and the realistic. Kurosawa is famous for making this Genre more a study of Feudalism, politics and drama over hack and slash swordplay. Then you have your intense warrior combat film with hundreds of bodies and near insurmountable odds. Samurai Rebellion plays more in the camp of the dramatic, but dabbles in the fighting enough to entertain those fans too. There's fighting with honour, and there's this: knowing so completely what the fight is about that you can't help but know how hard the choice is going to be.
Overall Rating: 92% (Fight To See It!)
Why do I have to suffer through L'Atalante, when gorgeous prints of exciting and far more important moral dilemmas like this exist? And on top of everything else: samurai. A very memorable film as perfectly shot as Onibaba, I certainly recommend this to any film fan. As for lovers of the Samurai film Genre, you better get your ass on this before someone slaps you and mocks you in public for being a base poseur.