Uniquely structured - and methodically paced - "anti-samurai" film about an older ronin's questioning of the disgraceful treatment of his son-in-law by a powerful feudal lord. The plot relies heavily on the use of flashbacks, but the scenes it's flashing back to are always made perfectly clear, adding clarity to the story instead of detracting from it, and though everything is told in excruciating - sometimes belabored - detail, the picture remains strangely engrossing. The ending is grim (can't fight City Hall even in 1600's Japan) but there's an effort to question the absurd - and self-defeating - machismo so prevalent in the nation's history where honor and dignity - over time - lost their meaning.
Director: Masaki Kobayashi
Year Released: 1962