It’s wonderful to see a Japanese movie in which a samurai, for all his somber discipline and skill, is also a touching and complicated ordinary man. Seibei (Hiroyuki Sanada), the central figure in The Twilight Samurai, is an expert 19th-century warrior who lacks even a hint of bravado. Quiet and unkempt, with a wisp of beard that brings out the sadness in his eyes, he occupies the lowest rung of his clan and supports two daughters and a senile mother by working as a warehouse clerk. At times, he recalls no one so much as Dustin Hoffman in ”Kramer vs. Kramer,” yet when Seibei finally does unsheathe his sword, I can’t remember an action sequence that holds you in quite the same way, drawing deep excitement out of its hero’s fearless desire to live more than fight.
Genre: Action/Adventure, Drama; Starring: Rie Miyazawa, Hiroyuki Sanada, Nenji Kobayashi, Ren Osugi; Director: Yoji Yamada; Author: Yoji Yamada; Runtime (in minutes): 129; MPAA Rating: Unrated; Distributor: Empire Pictures
Posted April 29 2004 — 12:00 AM EDT
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