Good day to you ladies and gentlemen, today I return with my final review for today in the form of Yurusarezaru Mono, a Japanese remake of Clint Eastwood’s Unforgiven from 1993. I knew nothing about this film and just wanted to watch it because there aren’t that many Japanese films in the cinema and I wanted to see a foreign film in the cinema again so I jumped on it as soon as I humanly could.
Now normally when it comes to remakes they’re normally done from foreign language to english, not the other way around and I heard about this remake months ago and got really excited. But then I forgot all about it. The only reason I ended up watching this was for two reasons:
- Ken Watanabe.
- I couldn’t deny myself a chance to watch a good foreign film, especially one of the Japanese variety.
So now that I’ve gotten that little history lesson out of the way, how does Yurusarezaru Mono fare? Well read on and find out.
The plot in the film goes as follows:
“The Tokugawa shogunate has just collapsed and the Ainu aborigines strive to settle the land alongside the newly established government. Jubei Kamata is a relic of the Tokugawa shogunate, and during that time his name alone terrorized the whole of Kyoto as he killed countless loyalists in the name of the Shogun. After the fall, he vanished from sight. More than 10 years later, Jubei has fathered children with an Ainu woman and lives in a secluded hamlet, barely making a living. His wife – who succeeded in transforming him from a man who kills – had died, leaving him to a quiet life raising his children and tending her grave. However, poverty leads Jubei to abandon his resolve and once again turn to a life of violence.”
The story is pretty damn good as it is dramatic, fairly emotional for the lead characters involved, it is easy to get drawn into and get invested deeply. This film explores themes of justice, vengeance, killing and the moral and ethical codes that people live by. The film also feels like a bit of a road-trip film except instead of cars and roads, we have grassy fields and horses, it is an adventure-like film with a lot that takes place, a fair amount of it bit bad and tragic, but there’s also some great comedic moments too that lighten up the mood from time to time. The film seems to blend the codes and conventions of westerns along with samurai films for an interesting hybrid that feels like it has the best of both worlds in there.
When it comes to the cast there were all really good, for the sake of this review I’m only going to mention the three lead characters. Firstly Ken Watanabe as Jubee Kamata was amazing, Watanabe acts so well and is able to portray a man who has seen hard times and wishes to forget his past, though as far as he runs from it, he will never full get over it. Kōichi Satō has the most comedic parts as Ichizo Oishi, he’s a young man who wishes to join Jubee and Kingo on their quest. And Akira Emoto as Kingo Baba is another actor I really liked, he’s an old friend of Jubee and he’s like the seasoned warrior with the knowledge but also has some funny lines too.
When it comes to the presentation it is nearly flawless on both the visual and audio front. Visually the film is incredible to look at, the cinematography perfectly captures the beauty of Japan’s sweeping landscapes along with good-looking day and night scenes and vibrant colours. The action in the film is well-choreographed and nicely shot and all depictions of violence are pretty graphic and clearly visible. I also love the soundtrack for this film as it is very energetic, powerful, emotional and dramatic, it fit so many situations very well and felt like a mixture of cowboy western music along with traditional Japanese music too.
In conclusion Yurusarezaru Mono is a beautiful film that has a great and emotive story, wonderful cast and is shot very well. I’ve never seen the original Unforgiven so I can’t compare the two films, but I can say that if you enjoy Japanese films that involve samurai then look no further than this film.
Rating: 8.5/10 (A great piece of work from Japan)
So what did you think of Yurusarezaru Mono? Have you seen it or are you gonna watch it? Whatever your thoughts are leave them in the comment section below and I’ll see you on then ext film review. Laters. 😀