The sword of doom

DVD - 2005 | Japanese
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Ryunosuke is a sociopathic samurai. When he is scheduled for an exhibition match at his fencing school, the wife of his opponent begs Ryunosuke to throw the match, offering her own virtue in trade.
Publisher: [Irvington, NY] :, Criterion Collection,, [2005]
Copyright Date: ©1965
ISBN: 9780780029637
Branch Call Number: 791.4372 S979
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (121 min.) : sound, black and white ; 4 3/4 in


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Sep 30, 2018

Masterpiece ~420 One of the great films made ever

May 01, 2018

A rather gothic take on the genre, Okamoto spends the film focusing on a character who, by all rights, is the villain. Tastuya Nakadai is at the top of his game playing the emotionless and amoral samurai Ryunosuke, who spends the film killing indiscriminately during his descent into madness. With unique camerawork and unforgettable cinematography (the film’s climax is particularly stunning.) Sword of Doom makes for unforgettable viewing.

Nov 11, 2017

Beautifully filmed in B&W, Kihachi Okamoto’s tale of madness and possession in 19th century Japan takes on a quasi-expressionistic sheen with swirling snowstorms, misty forests, and labyrinthine interiors full of shifting screens and shadows. Set during a time of political and social upheaval as the old shogunate system gave way to the new Empire, it tells the story of master swordsman Ryunosuke Tsukue, a ruthless and amoral man whose unconscionable acts eventually lead to his downfall. Impeccable acting all around especially Tatsuya Nakadai’s stone-faced performance as the unearthly samurai and Michiyo Aratama as the vengeful wife of one of his victims. The real star of Okamoto’s epic however is cinematographer Hiroshi Murai who adds a touch of magical realism to all the bloodletting whether it be a group of assassins flitting past a snowy cemetery or a surreal fight sequence filled with fire and illusory ghosts. Unfortunately much of the historical background is lost on western audiences and an abrupt ending leaves too many dangling storylines and unexplained twists—apparently this was meant to be the first instalment of a trilogy that was never completed hence the overall feel of something left unfinished.

Apr 16, 2016

Amazing film >> Slow burning and sudden fury >>420

Apr 22, 2014

'The Sword of Doom' is a dark and disturbing martial arts film that follows the life of Ryunosuke Tsukue who is an amoral samurai and a master swordsman bordering on insanity. Dashingly handsome Tatsuya Nakadai gives an intense portrayal of this complex man matching his brilliant performances in 'Kagemusha', 'Ran' and 'The Human Condition'. The enigmatic ending of the film has been debated for decades and it shows Ryunosuke representing the evil in man which will continue to assert itself against the good in him for all eternity. The action scenes in the film are dazzling in their complexity and scope and the film's finale is one of the most desperate samurai duels in the film history. All of these come together to make this film one of the greatest martial arts classics.

May 01, 2012

I was entranced by the intensity of the character, Ryunosuke's eyes and how much evil he has within himself. It is no wonder that someone like him would be contending with a lot of inner demons. The ending was strong but it also felt somewhat inconclusive. No matter, I still enjoyed this film and those who like samurai movies, particularly of the evil ones, will enjoy it too!


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