AnimEigo has released Tadashi Imai's 1964 samurai classic Revenge (Adauchi), which I reviewed in Warring Clans, Flashing Blades. In the book, I stated my opinion that the film is good but has problems. It suffers from uneven pacing, underdeveloped characters and a confusing use of flashbacks (are we now or are we then?).
That said, Revenge boasts strengths as well, chiefly in the performance of its star, Kinnosuke Nakamura. Nakamura was the most emotive of the samurai stars of the 60s, and here he gives 110%. He plays a low-ranking samurai who duels a haughty superior and wins -- against the wishes of his clan (who promptly banish him to a mountain monastery). Things go from bad to worse when the slain man's brother shows up (the inevitable Tetsuro Tamba). Before long the clan elders want our hero dead, and as the pressure mounts, so does his anxiety, fear and rage (see box cover, above).
My opinion of this film is in the minority, as most critics hail Revenge as a masterpiece. Its political allegory works and, as I said, Kinnosuke Nakamura is mesmerizing. So decide for yourself and feel free to add a comment.
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