´╗┐ Sanjuro (1962) Toshir˘ Mifune, Tatsuya Nakadai, Keiju Kobayashi, Yűz˘ Kayama Movie Review

Sanjuro (1962)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Toshir˘ Mifune in Sanjuro (1962)

Carry on Samurai

Whilst sleeping in an adjacent room a samurai (Toshir├┤ Mifune) over hears the nephew of the region's Chamberlain telling his friends that his Uncle disbelieved him when he informed him that there was corruption in the local government and so he had gone to the Superintendent to express his fears. Realising that the Superintendent is behind the corruption the samurai tells this group this and just as he does a group of assassins working for the Superintendent show up. The samurai manages to get them to go away and then ends up helping this young group as he knows the Chamberlain will be in danger now.

I would never proclaim to be an expert when it comes to the movies of Akira Kurosawa, in truth they don't have the same affect on me as they do others but I can appreciate his skill as a movie maker. And ironically it is one of Kurosawa's lesser movies, "Sanjuro", which for me highlights his skills the most although maybe with its comical aspects I found it the easiest to follow. In fact "Sanjuro" is probably the best place for newbies to start when it comes to Kurosawa as his other more famous movies are much heavier and demand more from the audience.

Sanjuro (1962)

Now "Sanjuro" is simple enough as we have the lone samurai who wanders from one place to another deciding to help a young man and his eight friends deal with the local government corruption which he has exposed and in doing so putting his uncle in danger. But rather than straight man with no name set up there is an added lay of humour to this with the samurai having seen it all before knows that the Superintendent is the real corruption and that his job there is not done until he rescues the Uncle who he knows will be being held hostage because that is what happens. Thrown in the nine young men who follow him around like a shadow and it is light and entertaining and most importantly easy to follow.

But that doesn't mean that Kurosawa skimps on the style as there is still style oozing out of every single scene from the camera angles to the way these nine young men follow the samurai around. But we also get the action and this is where you really appreciate the craftsmanship as whilst there are edits in the action they are not every second like they are now and we get beautifully choreographed fight scenes which impress in the way they involve multiple characters all working together in a beautiful times piece.

What this all boils down to is that "Sanjuro" is not Kurosawa's greatest movie but in many ways it is his most accessible for those just trying to get into his movies and what made them special.