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Movie review: The Twilight Samurai

Published October 1, 2004 12:05 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2004, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The Twilight Samurai

Not rated, but probably PG-13 for swordfighting violence; in Japanese with subtitles; 129 minutes; opening today at the Broadway Centre Cinemas.

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This elegaic drama suggests that being a samurai wasn't all swordfights and standoffs. It centers on Iguchi (Hiroyuki Sanada), a low-level 19th-century samurai who is widowed, raising two girls, caring for his senile mother, in debt and unkempt. He unexpectedly sees his reputation rise when he beats up the drunken ex-husband of his childhood love Tomoe (Rie Miyazawa). Director Yoji Yamada tenderly portrays Iguchi as an anomaly among the ambitious samurai - a quiet man who would rather farm than fight, but reluctantly goes into battle to defend samurai honor just as the samurai era is coming to a bloody close.