Last week we watched only one movie. And it was a good one.
This is a 2015 movie and, as I just discovered on Wikipedia, based on the forty-seven Ronin historical event. It may explain the Japanese influences you see throughout the movie although the overall feel of it is more a medieval European style. I actually thought the Asian influences were put in by the director, Kazuaki Kiriya. However, the fact that Morgan Freeman plays the honorable nobleman puts the story solidly in the fantasy genre as African-American noblemen weren’t the norm in European nor Japanese history.
Plot and Characters
As mentioned, Morgan Freeman plays Bartok, the nobleman who stands up against a rising tyrant minister, Geza Mott (played by Aksel Hennie), who has won the trust of the emperor (played by Peyman Moaadi). Raiden (played by Clive Owen) is Bartok’s loyal commander and is commanded by Geza Mott, with the approval of the Emperor, to take the life of Bartok as punishment for his treason. From that moment on, Raiden’s spirit spirals downward, forsaking his duty as commander and husband, as closely observed by Geza Mott’s right-hand man Ito (played by Tsuyoshi Ihara).
What I liked
I liked watching Clive Owen. He reminds me of Nicholas Cage, but kinder. He has the face that can be cold and cruel, but also one that can be heartwarming, strong, and passionate. I miss that in Nicholas Cage, who always seems to smirk. Aksel Hennie was well chosen as the paranoid tyrant. He reminds me of Robert Carlyle’s role Durza in Eragon, but this didn’t happen during the movie; he made the role his own. I liked the way the story developed. The desperation, sadness, and despair portrayed by Owen were touchable and heartfelt. There were plot twists I didn’t see coming, which was also a nice surprise. I liked the multi-cultural cast, including Shohrey Aghdashloo, Ayelet Zurer, Ahn Sung-ki, and Cliff Curtis.
What I didn’t like
There wasn’t much I didn’t like. Obviously, there were the WTF moments, like when an archer shoots an arrow through a ring of 10cm diameter at about half a kilometer distance. But otherwise, I have no complaints. The acting was impeccable, the music appropriate and not distracting, and all effects believable. A movie you can get totally absorbed in.
This is an American movie (i.e. with a happy ending) full of action, suspense, and drama. Not one for the very young as topics of alcoholism, prostitution, and marital problems are touched upon, but worldly teenagers could watch this without a problem. I recommend watching it and promise you some good entertainment.