The Loyal 47 Ronin DVD Review - www.impulsegamer.com -

Feature 8.5
Video 7.0
Audio 6.0
Special Features 5.0
Total 8.0
Distributor: Madman
Classification: PG
Minutes: 241 minutes
Reviewer: Simon Black

8.0


The Loyal 47 Ronin
(1941/1942)

In the annals of 20th century Japanese cinema only one name comes close to rivalling that of Akira Kurosawa: Kenji Mizoguchi. 

As prolific as he was influential, Mizoguchi directed over 100 films in his lifetime and was amongst the first Japanese filmmakers to have their work viewed in the West.  He won numerous awards throughout his lifetime, including the International Ward and two Silver Lions at Venice, but the pinnacle of his creative output was undoubtedly his two-part, four hour masterpiece The Loyal 47 Ronin of the Genroku Era, known in the West by the slightly truncated title above or simply as The 47 Ronin

The story of the 47 ronin is an integral part of traditional Japanese lore.  In the feudal society of 1701 a dispute arose between Lord Asano and the elder Lord Kira.  Asano subsequently made an unsuccessful attempt on the life of his superior and was sentenced to death by hara-kiri.  This outcome relegated his bodyguards to the inferior status of ronin, or masterless samurai, and plunged both Asanoís house and his legacy into disrepair.  Under the instruction of the former samurai Oishi the swordsmen plotted their final act of revenge against Kira, knowing full well that they themselves would likewise be required to commit suicide as a direct repercussion of the bloodshed. 

Funded by the Japanese government as a propaganda piece and intended to galvanise the nation in the weeks preceding Japanís involvement in World War II, The Loyal 47 Ronin is nonetheless a thoughtful, deeply measured and visually splendid dissertation on duty and loyalty.  Mizoguchiís depiction of historyís most famous evocation of bushido, the samurai code of honour, is both cerebral and compelling, and the film moves determinedly at its own languid pace, introducing and dispatching characters, dealing with the day-to-day intricacies of its protagonists lives and bringing new information to light in a way that is graceful and unhurried. 

Part of Madmanís Directorís Suite, both parts of the film feature audio commentary by Adrian Martin, the Senior Research Fellow of Film and Television Studies at Monash University.  Though he jokes early on about needing to talk slowly to fill up the four hours Martin doesnít run dry of insights, and clearly has both a great knowledge and substantial regard for the film.  Over the course of his commentary he covers every aspect of the production at some length including its scene constructions, acting, camerawork, political context, critical reception, music and mise en scene, and Martinís observations and comprehensive deconstructions are invaluable to anyone with more than a passing interest in the work of this distinctive and uniquely talented filmmaker. 

The Loyal 47 Ronin wonít appeal to everyone.  Itís a stately composition, and makes extensive use of long, slow shots in its supremely detailed study of the characters and personalities involved in this intriguing period of Japanese history.  For those who can find the time to savour it however itís a resplendent, technically accomplished and highly rewarding work, and undoubtedly stands as one of the classics of 20th century Japanese cinema. 






 
 



   Games
   PlayStation 4
   XBox One
   PlayStation 3
   XBox 360
   PC
   PS Vita
   Wii U
   Wii
   3DS
   DS
   PSP
   Apple
   Casual
   Android
   Classics

  Movies
   Movies & IMAX
   Blu-ray
   Action
   Anime
   Comedy
   Crime & Thrillers
   Documentaries
   Drama
   Family
   Horror
   Kids
   Lifestyle
   Music
   Romance
   Sci-fi
   Sport

   IT
   PC
   Apple
   Hardware

   Information & Fun
   News
   Interviews
   Articles

   Tara's G-Spot
   Loren's Level
   Comics
   Books
   Mind & Body
   Music
   Competitions
   Community
 








 
 




Impulse Gamer is your source for the
latest Reviews and News on Video Games,
Entertainment, Pop Culture, Hardware &
More!

 


© 2001 - 2014 Impulse Gamer
 

 

About Us | Contact Us