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A young samurai returns to his home and discovers a higher calling- revenge! Goyokin tells the story of a haunted samurai named Magoei who returns to the site of a past massacre to seek revenge. The clan he abandoned plots another massacre. Protecting the lone woman survivor of the previous massacre, Magobei endures a great amount of punishment to atone for the sins of his clan. Goyokin goes beyond the samurai genre and explores honor and the folly of blind loyalty.
Goyokin is a must-see for all serious fans of Japanese cinema, especially those with an interest in samurai dramas. --dvdtalk.com
Goyokin is a visually striking film with effective short bursts of violence and a compelling story. For fans of samurai films it is a must see. --letterbxd.com
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The story focuses on Wakizaka Magobei (Nakadai Tatsuya), a samurai who returns to face the clan that he'd left meany years before. A subterfuge, performed to steal the official gold of the title; a massacre, done to eliminate any convenient witnesses or informants. All create the psychological tension that forms the drama surrounding Nakadai. The director, Gosha pits clan loyalty against morality, or doing what is right. In this respect, Gosha is similar to Masaki Kobayashi, who explored similar themes in "Harakiri," (also starring Nakadai) as well as his "Human Condition" trilogy.
Several other folk have mentioned that this film reminds them of the spaghetti westerns of Sergio Leone. That observation isn't so far-fetched. This film was copied and made into a forgettable Hollywood western: "The Master Gunfighter," with Tom Laughlin, of "Billy Jack" fame. Think of it as Cowboys with Swords.
An intelligent script, superb direction, outstanding cinematography ("Goyokin" was the first film in Japan to be filmed in Panavision) and the excellent acting of Nakadai. The climactic duel in the snow, with Nakadai and Nakamura Kinnosuke as the clan head (his brother-in-law), is visually stunning.
Hopefully, the re-release of this film will allow a wider audience to appreciate it.
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In a recent interview with Christies to promote a Samurai collection to be auctioned, Nakadai Tatsuya
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