Customer Review

73 of 83 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Real Sweetness, August 24, 2006
This review is from: The Hidden Blade (DVD)
Yoji Yamada's "Twilight Samurai" was an extraordinary treat. Following in similar footsteps, "The Hidden Blade" is again a samurai tale where a lower samurai must weigh matters of principle against what is politically and financially advantageous. Shown at film festivals in Berlin & Newport Beach, the main character is Munezo Katagiri whose sister marries out of the household. Masatoshi Magase who played so romantically as the second love interest in "The Sea Is Watching" does the title role. He's very sensitive and honest, but a bit out of touch with his own emotional needs. Takako Matsu who has only made 3 films including 2006's "Suite Dreams" plays the housekeeper Kie. She works hard and lovingly takes care of Katagiri's house. Matsu's beautiful good looks and expressive face make her a charmer. Caste issues divide her from the samurai. When Kie marries, her new family abuses and fails to appreciate her. This results in her illness and rescue by Katagiri who barges into the household and rescues Kie from her own husband! Kie is nursed back to health. Meanwhile Yaichiro Hazama is from the same samurai clan and has gone to the big city of Edo where he gets caught in a plot to overthrow the Emperor. He's brought back home in a basket and imprisoned, rather than being given the dignity of hari kiri. The authorities come to Katagiri and give him the charge of dueling with Hazama, who breaks out of prison and holes up in a rural hut. The lovely Reiko Takashima plays Hazama's wife and comes to barter with the only commodity she has, her body, to try and save her husband's life. She goes to the Chief in charge (forgot his title) and makes a similar deal when Katagiri refuses her. Unfortunately, the unscrupulous Chief has no intention of freeing Hazama and fails to inform Katagiri as he has promised Mrs. Hazama he would do. Min Tanaka who played in "Twilight Samurai" is the retired martial arts instructor Toda who gave Katagiri knowledge of a special move called the Devil's Claw. Now living in a pastoral setting, he gives Katagiri a few last tips. The duel takes place with Katagiri surviving. The Chief suffers justice at Katagiri's hands with the lightning fast Devil's Claw dispatching him to the next world. Deciding to follow Toda's example, Katagiri renounces his pledge as samurai and sweetly approaches Kie who has not remarried and no longer has a caste restriction separating her from the man she obviously loves. There is a real sweetness and innocence in the story of "Hidden Blade" that shows a moral compass. The performances, direction and cinematography are first-rate. Bravo!
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 9, 2010 5:24:11 PM PDT
I'd appreciate it if you didn't reveal the ending in the review, or that if you did, you'd label the review with a spoiler warning. Thanks.

Posted on Dec 28, 2014 6:15:24 PM PST
Adam says:
"SPOILER ALERT" should be within the title of your review.

Review the movie, do not summarize it and ruin it for those interested in viewing it for the first time.
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Lee Armstrong
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Location: Winterville, NC United States

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