Review: The Twilight Samurai

The Twilight Samurai (2002)
Directed by: Yôji Yamada

The Twilight Samurai is a departure from the contemporary samurai movies. Where as most samurai movies abound in sword-fights, this movies slashing count could fit in one hand. The pace is slow, yet you may hardly notice while your are almost sharing the life of the protagonist going through the day-to-day duties of a low-ranking samurai Seibei Iguch in the last days of the Shogun period. Rather than participate in the social norms of drinking with his colleagues after work he rushes home to spend time with his two children and tending to his mother, earning him his nickname "Twilight Seibei"
A conflict arises when recently divorced Tomoe who returns to the village for some peace and quiet is hounded by her drunk & abusive husband. Seibei brings himself to fight for Tomoe's honour by duelling with her ex-husband and then effectively dispatching him in a brief but efficient manner. After which word of his prowess with a sword spreads and is sought-after for a mission to relieve another samurai of his duties.
The Twilight Samurai brings a fresh perspective to its crowded genre and gives insight in to the lives and times of the people of 19th century Japan. It tells a the story of a simple person, living, and like the samurai's technique, it is simple and effective.

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