Film Review: Yojimbo

A still from Yojimbo.

A tense scene, in which the ronin is interrogated by the fugitive with the gun.

YOJIMBO (1961)

Directed and Written by Akira Kurosawa

“You’ll gain nothing by being sucked into this evil.”

And as he shares with us the ronin’s bounties, the men who bandy about their hopes and aspirations to upset the order, they begin to introduce the score themselves, a rhythmic pulsing that makes immediate the fact that there is no escaping. The ronin can’t leave; there is too much to be sensed in this place, and too many men who create misery for themselves and each other.

The ronin walks out; the drums stop. He is Susano; there is only the wind to join him. He wishes to see Seibei. He is here to restore order, likely by reducing the number of chaos agents. His sympathetic eyes make it clear that he does not wish to kill nearly as many men in this town as he might claim, but we know he can wipe out these toughs not by his shown skill but by his unmoving, slightly furrowed brow.

“There’s no cure for fools.”

As he walks away through the wind once more, the score makes it evident that we are watching a legend unfold. This is Yojimbo. It is as excellent as we have been told. And the ronin will take pleasure in all the trickery that is to come before the reckoning.


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