a page of madness

film writing by nicholas vroman

Sono Yoru no Samurai / その夜の侍 / The Samurai That Night

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Actor and theatrical troupe leader Akahori Masaaki’s overwrought first directorial effort, Sono Yoru no Samurai, takes a revenge story into a strange mix of cliché and compelling imagery, not knowing when to leave well enough alone. The story follows Kenichi (Masato Sakai), a man depressed and on edge five years after the death of his wife in a hit and run accident. The driver, Kijima (Takayuki Yamada) has been released from prison. Kenichi is bent on revenge. Otherwise very good actors, Sakai and Takayuki, aren’t  given any room to grow or develop their characters. Sakai’s Kenichi is a set of mannerisms of a distraught man who you know can’t go through with the killing. Yamada gets to play Kijima as full on bad. The penultimate scene, their brutal Goyaesque rain-soaked showdown in a mud-filled playground seems lifted from a different much better movie. The outright theatricality works in some scenes, particularly in the sometimes cruelly funny business among Kijima’s henchmen, and fails in most. The film just doesn’t know what it wants to be.

Originally published in EL Magazine, November 2012.

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Written by Nicholas Vroman

November 6, 2012 at 5:26 am

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