Hidden Blade, The
Source: Catholic News Service
Terrific 19th-century Japanese drama about an honorable samurai (Masatoshi Nagase) who is asked to hunt down and kill his friend (Yukiyoshi Ozawa) who has turned renegade, with a romantic subplot involving a former family domestic (Takako Matsu) whom the samurai rescues from an abusive family and takes into his home, but for whom he cannot declare his feelings. Director Yoji Yamada's follow-up to his equally superb "The Twilight Samurai" is a vivid picture of changing times, and the onslaught of Western-style artillery and tactics, facing down the traditional Japanese formal style and sense of honor. Making cultural allowances for such practices as hara-kiri (suicide), the film has a strong moral center and a strong anti-violence message. Subtitles. Relatively moderate violence with brief bloodshed and gore, a murder without retribution, discreet sexual themes and a couple of mild expletives. The USCCB Office for Film & Broadcasting classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.
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