Don’t get me wrong, this is a solid movie based around Samurai characters and culture, but has little no fighting in it despite a couple of quick scenes. It centers around a man named Iguchi Seibei, nicknamed ‘Twilight’.
Twilight lives in a tough position, he is a relatively poor and low ranking 50 koku Samurai. His wife is deceased, his mother is elderly, suffering from dementia and he is raising two young girls.
So naturally he works hard and is busy form his waking moments until is last every day. He cops a bit of flack from the other Samurai in his clan for not joining in some of the more social events and aspects of their lives.
But people start talking. After an old friend of his, a woman by the name of Totome, starts helping out at his home, after a divorce, Twilight finds himself stepping in for her brother and fighting her ex husband in a Samurai challenge. Although a very skilled swords man who outranks Twilight substantially, Totome’s ex-husband is beaten and knocked out in a sword fight with Twilight, after being knocked in the head with a wooden sword or club.
After being given the offer to marry Totome, Twilight decides not too. But when he is sent to kill a Samurai (another highly skilled man who outranks him tremendously) he has some regrets and goes off on his mission wondering whether he will live or die.
More Drama than Martial Arts
It seems that a lot of the time if a movie has the word ‘Samurai’ in it or has Samurai as one of the main characters, it gets classed as a martial arts movie even if there’s no action. This is one of those movies.
Instead Twilight Samurai is a dramatic movie which has plenty of drama and looks into the character of Iguchi (Twilight), as we see him face an extremely difficult lifestyle and plenty of obstacles – including his own fear.
When given the option of marry Totome, an offer he refuses, his reasoning is very much that he thinks he won’t be able to measure up to her current standard of living and therefore ruin their friendship. His insecurity becomes his main weakness until he is faced with the possibility of death.
It paints a different picture of Samurai culture, showing those who aren’t high ranking and perfect – like you see in most Samurai films. It focuses on a lower class than we’re used to seeing and is very interesting go watch and think about.
As far as the story goes it’s an entertaining drama, one which has you hoping things work out for Iguchi as you can’t help but feel for his hardship.
The Action & Martial Arts
There’s not much action in this movie, but there are 2 very quick fight scenes and they aren’t exactly exciting. But they are technically not bad.
We see Iguchi in control during the first fight scene showing off some decent and realistic moves against his opponent. The shooting isn’t choppy and allows you to see every movement as Iguchi fights whilst creating a more realistic feel – no dramatic music and emotionally driven despair – just violence.
Ultimately they a decent job of not over hyping these fight scenes as the movie is a drama, so what work they did matched the story. I do recommend this film to anyone interested but don’t expect much action.
On Blu Ray –
Region A (US & Canada)
Twilight Samurai [Blu-ray]
On DVD –
Region 1 (US & Canada)
The Twilight Samurai
Region 2 (UK, Europe, etc)
The Twilight Samurai [DVD]
Region 4 (Australia & New Zealand)