Love and Honor

"Excellent"

Love and Honor Review


The final film of legendary Japanese director Yôji Yamada's introspective trilogy of 19th-century samurai life, Love and Honor is as elegant and meditative as the two films that preceded it. Like The Twilight Samurai and The Hidden Blade, it features intimate psychological drama rather than slashing swordplay. In fact, the movie has only one sword fight, and it consists of only three or four swings of the blade, but don't let that dissuade you. You won't be bored.

Mid-level samurai Shinojo (Takuya Kimura) is in a career slump. He finds himself working as one of five food tasters for the local samurai lord, making sure his boss's sashimi isn't poisoned. It's a living that provides him and his wife Kayo (Rei Dan) with a nice house, a large rice quota, and an old and loyal servant named Tokuhei (Takashi Sasano), but it's not too thrilling.

Shinojo's comfortable life suddenly comes undone when he tastes some toxic shellfish, falls into a three-day coma, and wakes up irreversibly blind. Although he has made this terrible sacrifice for his lord, there's no guarantee that the castle will put him on what we could call permanent disability. He could lose his status, his house, and his rice. Of what use is a blind samurai?

Eager to do what she can, Kayo takes the advice of her meddling relatives and seeks out a samurai chief named Shimada (Mitsugoro Bando) who has offered her assistance. The naïve young woman doesn't realize that his help will come at an awful cost, but she's willing to compromise her virtue to ensure that her husband will always be taken care of. Sadly, news travels fast in a small castle town, and when Shinojo learns that his wife has been walking into questionable tea houses, he has Tokuhei follow her. When he learns the awful truth of Kayo's deal with Shimada, the humiliated Shinojo has no choice but to cast her out in about 30 seconds.

Now there's only one bit of business left: to seek revenge on Shimada, but how can a blind samurai engage in swordplay? After a bit of Karate-Kid style wax-on, wax-off practice, Shinojo develops a new fighting style that just might work.

Yamada deserves great credit for looking behind decades of cinematic samurai clichés (including dozens of blind samurai stories) to find some real human emotion in stories of conflicted men just trying to the right thing in a rigidly codified society. All three of his samurai films succeed on this count, and their production design is exquisite. Takuya Kimura, who is far better known in Japan as a heartthrobby J-pop star than as an actor, creates a character of dignity and, as the title says, honor. Blind or not, he deserves to carry his samurai sword.

Aka Bushi no ichibun.

Wax on, eyes off.



Love and Honor

Facts and Figures

Run time: 100 mins

In Theaters: Friday 22nd March 2013

Box Office USA: $16.3k

Distributed by: IFC Films

Production compaines: Deep Blue Pictures, Red 56

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 13%
Fresh: 2 Rotten: 13

IMDB: 5.7 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: Hiroshi Fukuzawa, Ichiro Yamamoto

Starring: as Mickey Wright, as Candace, as Juniper / Jane, as Peter, Wyatt Russell as Topher, Max Adler as Burns, Austin Stowell as Dalton Joiner

Also starring: ,

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.