Kurosawa's follies

This movie was playing at a retrospective at the local art house theatre. I've been meaning to catch this movie because of the legendary connection between it and the Star Wars trilogy. I found out that it is a lot of baggage to bring that sort of investigative microscope to watch the movie.

Anyways, the movie is similar to a lightly comedic Homeric odyssey. Two peasants have tried to profit from the war and have had a series of unfortunate stints as grave diggers. They finally escape and are trying to make their way home. However, their way home leads them through the victor's border guard and they are captured again and made to search for the conquered countries hidden gold. A riot ensues, and our two protagonists find themselves freed and broke. They begin their own search for gold and clumsily stumble on gold hidden in firewood. They encounter a mysterious figure and are now wrapped up in the escape plans for Princess Yukihime and her attempt to establish a government in exile.

Kurosawa's filming is evident in this movie. There are some very striking scenes when our mysterious figure rides horseback with a sword, a foe emerges from the shadows with a gnarled and scarred face, and some great scenes in the middle of a bamboo thicket overlooking a river.

I didn't find myself empathizing with our two peasants. I found them distracting and neither of them spoke a word. They shouted every line, even when they were sleeping or nearly exhausted, they were barking out their parts. Without being on board with the characters, there was not as much to enjoy about this movie. The battle scenes were either short and very confusing or very long without much action. There are a lot of Kurosawa films to watch. I don't know if I will sit through this one again.

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