A restrained remake of Kobayashi's film of a story which attacks the inhumanity of feudal Japan. Set at a time when the Shogunate had led to many samurai becoming unemployed, it deals with the consequence of one of them begging a local lord for funds to save his sick wife in return for his own ritual suicide. This is something that others have done without then
killing themselves but this time he is forced to follow the traditional form even though his sword is only bamboo. We learn this as it is told to another applicant wishing to kill himself on the same grounds. Like a Chinese puzzle box unfolds, we
learn of the ronin's life, then his enforced suicide and his wife's death with the revelation that the current request has been made by the father of the dead man's wife. A rather leisurely but beautifully filmed development erupts in the final reel into a fight between the father and the full complement of the lord's household with the inevitable conclusion. Quieter and more
thought-provoking than last year's '13 Assassins' but less enjoyable.