The Samurai that Night

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The title is somewhat misleading: there are no bendy swords or old-fashioned heroics here, though there is a lengthy, brutal, Kurosawa-esque battle in the rain. It’s between Nakamura (Masato Sakai), the downtrodden owner of a machinery shop in suburban Japan, and Kijima (Takayuki Yamada), the carefree thug who, five years previously, killed Nakamura’s wife in a hit-and-run.  ‘The Samurai That Night’ is no revenge drama, at least not in the traditional genre-movie sense. Instead it’s a character study, a brooding tragedy, a moral maze with art-movie trimmings. The result is gripping, grimly depressing, sometimes bold, often frustrating, and just a touch shallow. But it’s worth seeing for a handful of assured moments of cruel drama: a confrontation between Kijima and a mild-mannered road worker, a violent confrontation in the woods at night, the aforementioned fight and a truly heartbreaking climactic scene involving Nakamura and three pots of cheap supermarket custard.

Release details

Duration: 119 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Masaaki Akahori
Screenwriter: Masaaki Akahori
Cast: Masato Sakai
Takayuki Yamada
Hirofumi Arai
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