Unforgiven (Yurusarezaru mono)
Director: Sang il-Lee
Cast: Ken Watanabe, Jun Kunimura, Yuya Yagira
Language: Japanese with English subtitles
Country of Origin: Japan 2013 135 mins.
Released by WARNER BROS.
' Six-shooters swapped for samurai swords - a beautifully captured samurai tale'.
It's tempting to suggest that any adaptation of Clint Eastwood's classic 1992 Oscar winning revisionist western 'Unforgiven' couldn't do justice to the original. Korean-Japanese director Sang il-Lee offers a visually captivating and fairly faithful interpretation of the themes of death and damnation transposed to late 19th century Japan and by all accounts Clint Eastwood's happy with it. The tale unfolds at the beginning of the Meiji Era in 1880 and is set in Ezo (now Hokkaido), the northernmost island of Japan. Sanosuke (Yukiyoshi Ozawa), a former samurai slashes the face of prostitute, Natsume (Shiori Kutsuna) for ridiculing his endowment. A bounty's offered and Kingo Baba (Akira Emoto) persuades Jubei Kamata (Ken Watanabe),a former samurai with a fearsome reputation whose resolve to abandon violence has been weakened by poverty and the death of his wife, to take up the bounty. So begins a vicious cycle of violence. Ken Watanabe gives a terrific performance as the warrior haunted by the past and Norimichi Kasomatsu's cinematography vividly captures the breathtaking Hokkaido scenary. The movie's a rich swap of six-shooters for samurai swords with Sang il-Lee retaining the essence of David Webb Peoples's acclaimed screenplay.