Monday Movie: The 47 Ronin, by David Bax

1 Aug


This week’s Monday Movie comes from a list I did for the Rupert Pupkin Speaks blog, detailing the best older movies I discovered in the year 2015. You can find the rest of the list here.

Describing this movie makes it sound almost like a prank. Yes, it’s about samurai plotting revenge on the man their master was executed for trying to kill. But it’s also a four hour movie that consists almost entirely of people sitting in rooms talking. The major action set-piece, the raid on the rival master’s home, happens off screen and is relayed when a letter describing the events is read aloud. Somehow, though, it remains riveting. That’s because The 47 Ronin is not really a revenge story at all. It’s about how people in a society where protocol and decorum are inextricably tied to one’s standing, honor and sense of self-worth negotiate their way through their passions and emotions. Every bit of rage, envy, love, abandon, etc. has to be made to fit the boxes prescribed by the culture. It’s more fascinating to watch than any swordfight.

One Response to “Monday Movie: The 47 Ronin, by David Bax”

  1. Richard Gercken December 3, 2016 at 8:03 am #

    Thank you for your appreciation of THE 47 RONIN. Your brief discussion is the best analysis I have found of the film and — in just three sentences — the most precise summation I know of the intent of much Japanese historical cinema and the distinction between our two cultures.

    You will not want the rest of this published on your blog: May I have permission to use and, of course source, those last three sentences? Thank you.

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