…it’s remarkable how far a medieval ballad can reach through time, even if what comes out on the other side holds little resemblance to the significance of the tale.
It’s not a disappointing film. It’s just not memorable either.
For those worried that Mifune’s film quality might recede without his great collaborator, this is exhibit D (The Samurai Trilogy being A, B and C) that his instincts were good.
A weak third act tears down the momentum of what could be a classic film.
This is not Kurosawa’s best work. In many ways, it is a film of its time. Much of Kurosawa’s work is more of the timeless quality. This feels like something one might have seen from some of the better television dramas of the 1960’s. For that, it is still worth our time.
The director’s master of wide screen is such an art by this point that it feels like an entirely different story is being told for long, wordless passages.
It’s a pleasant consequence of having the skill to turn above average into the unforgettable. These films should not be important bedrock films. Yet here they are, standing head and shoulders above, almost 60 years later.
Like anything Kurosawa does by now, it’s completely worthwhile and a keeper for the memory book. No one has better control of the images one sees through lighting, angles and dialogue. He controls the mood of the viewer at his whim. It’s hard to imagine a better film maker from his time.
See this film if you want to smile, but don’t expect to go away with the idea that stoicism is easy. Even if Mifune makes it seem that way.
This is a good film, with some wonderful elements. Even if it is a bit too indulgent with wackiness, the story and Kurosawa’s eloquent use of wide screen are worth repeated viewings.
Into this miserable world walks an old, happy man (Hidari) who has something positive and distinct to say for everyone. This is enough to get several of the stories to explode into the open.
It’s hard to list Kurosawa’s films in terms of greatness. Ranking is almost impossible.
The last installment of the trilogy narrowly avoids greatness by concentrating on the love story. It’s not that any of the storylines are done poorly. On the contrary, they’re about as evocative as was possible at the time.
Musashi’s presence is undeniable as the burgeoning samurai. His is one of the giant characters in episodic history, every bit worth the value of the legend he represents.
Kurosawa, Shimura and Mifune by this point are in full swing. There is nothing in the world that matches their ability to relay a story.
This is definitely a star turn for Mifune, if there ever was one. His performance is exceptional and layered.