Thursday, September 23, 2010

Yoidore Tenshi (Dunken Angel)

Directed by timless master Akira Kurosawa, this film takes place in the Yakuza run, Taberculosis infested slums of post-war Japan. Alcoholic Doctor Sanada (Takashi Shimura) treats a rising star in the one of the gangs running his town, named Matsunaga (Toshiro Mifune) for a gunshot wound and also diagnosis him with TB. Their relationship in the movie seems to be on rocky grounds at first untill Sanada gains Matsunaga's trust and tries to help him save a young woman from falling back into the hands of a abusive relationship with a recently parolled head hombre of the Yakuza.

I found this movie to be very entertaining and quite before it's time. Kurosawa does a fantstic job of capturing, not only life in post-war Japan and the hardships that the people faced, but also the clash of ideas that came out of the war. The old Bushido morals vs. the new more existential ideas or even at times cynical ideas of a defeated nation. This clash is most evident with the cyincal/jaded Doc vs the passionate youth of Mifune's character. While the Docotor tries to help Matsunaga with logic and teaching him not to just follow passions all of the time, ultimately Matsunaga falls back into old habits and gives into his passions and naive views of his world.

Overall I'd give this movie a 8.5 of 10 a deffinate must see for any Kurosawa fan or someone wanting an introduction to Japanese Cinema, and Kurosawa Cinima itself.

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