Kagemusha (1980)

Watched 20120121 (Netflix, Instant) (Japanese audio, English subtitles)
Kagemusha (1980) Akira Kurosawa. 180 min.

Relevant Links:
Kagemusha (Wikipedia.org)
Kagemusha (IMDb.com)
Kagemusha (RottenTomatoes.com)

The movie begins with three people: Shingen, his brother Nobukado, and a thief. The three are dressed the same, but only Nobukado is mimicking Shingen's mannerisms. Through dialogue, we learn that Nobukado spared the thief from crucifixion, believing that the thiefs likeness to Shingen would prove useful.

This is indeed the case, as Shingen is eventually shot and mortally wounded. Before his death, Shingen requests that his generals keep his death a secret for three years. During that time, the kagemusha assumes the role of impersonating Shingen. With some assistance, the kagemusha manages to do a solid job of impersonating Shingen. He, for example, successfully fools Shingen's grandson and the concubines. Unfortunately, the act finally fails when the kagemusha overconfidently tries to ride Shingen's horse.

20120121: [20120125]
This movie is long and more historically interesting than interesting as a movie in and of itself. I like Kurosawa's Seven Samurai (1954) and Yojimbo (1961) much much more. The movie moves much too slowly with little reason to hold my interest. The motivations of the protagonist, the kagemusha, don't always make sense to me. The ending of the movie is just as hard for me to follow.

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