Link: Yojimbo & Sanjuro
Summary: The nameless ronin from Kurosawa’s Yojimbo (1961) helps nine samurai defend against some kind of plot by scheming officials.
Thoughts: As you might guess based on my summary, I found this film I bit confusing. I wasn’t quite sure what exactly the villains were plotting, so I wasn’t quite sure what the entire conflict was all about. Still, even without understanding the intricacies of the overall plot, the main character’s clever counter-schemes were engaging, at times hilarious, while the nine samurai’s torment over whether or not to trust this nameless samurai kept things interesting. The swordfights were well choreographed, but the comedy of the overall plot drained them of some of their dramatic power. The film features some more of Kurosawa’s great cinematographic style, and it was nice to hear the musical themes from Yojimbo revisited. Overall, though, the film is no match for Yojimbo, which remains my favorite Kurosawa film (of the ones I’ve seen). Perhaps the overall conflict, being of a more political-scheming nature, just feels too light-hearted or abstract for me. Still, I found it to be an enjoyable film.