DIRECTED BY TAKASHI MIIKE
JAPAN, 2009, 126 MIN
IN JAPANESE WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES
Takashi Miike, perhaps Japan’s most prolific and versatile director with over 80 films in the last two decades including Audition and One Missed Call, outdoes himself with this remarkably accomplished take on the “Jidaigeki” (samurai period drama). A more traditional Japanese epic of the grandest scale, 13 ASSASSINS is a remake of a 1963 film of the same name. The setting is 1844, and peace reigns in feudal Japan. Bored, the Shogun’s evil brother rapes and kills with impunity by virtue of his political connections. Though the era of the samurai is fading, an honest government official covertly enlists 13 swordsmen to assassinate this sadistic young lord before he can seize more power. With the clock ticking, the assassins lay a deadly trap for the lord and his army of bodyguards, culminating in a climactic battle scene that lasts a breathless 45 minutes—one of the bloodiest, most magnificent swordfights ever put to film. With echoes of every samurai classic imaginable, Miike steals the show through sheer spectacle and old-fashioned samurai action of the highest order.