Yojimbo (1961) – The Man with No Name

A samurai (Toshirô Mifune) without a master arrived in a small town after throwing a branch of a tree. He randomly following the branch pointing whatsoever. From the innkeeper, he learned that in the city, there was a war between two camps. They fight for power to monopolize gambling. There is a Seibei stronghold that has a brothel and a Ushitora stronghold that produces a Sake. The two camps hired gangsters each other consisting of prisoners and criminals. Every day, they fight. The city is always quiet and tense. Just a coffin maker whose gains a profit from such a war.

After studying the situation, Sanjuro then raised his hand against them. He managed to kill some very easily. The samurai then offered a service to become a bodyguard or “Yojimbo”. He is waiting for the highest bid. The innkeeper, at first, hated the samurai. But, the samurai is actually an anti-hero. He wants to free the city from disputes. The situation was further complicated when he met Unosuke (Tatsuya Nakadai), Seibei’s right-hand man whose a gun. Using his ingenuity, Sanjuro must be able to survive the two camps. He also had to find a way to deal with the Unosuke.

Personally, I think Akira Kurosawa, I know for sure, makes a lot of high-value masterpieces. Including with “Yojimbo”, this movie has a high-artistic element. This is one of the best action movies ever. The flows plot in it, we continue to follow it with full of curiosity. The sword fights were so fast, tense, and comical. It’s just a piece of traditional Japanese music when it comes to music. Various comedy footage filled this movie. The atmosphere in this film continues to flow and flow. One string could make everything messed up.

“Yojimbo” known for its strong western impressions. Regardless of using Japanese history, the film’s trademark is very original. This film also became an inspiration to Sergio Leone in directing “A Fistful of Dollars”, starring Clint Eastwood. In fact, the man with no name inspired by this film. Just like the samurai with no name, saying his name through the mulberry garden. However, this anti-hero didn’t know who he wanted to serve. It’s not about who he wants to serve. He just wants some fun like messing with them using a psychology game. There are no good or bad camps. There is no antagonist or hero in this movie. They just pushed with each other.

Kurosawa’s point of view often looks at the back of a person while looking straight up and down the road. In addition, it often takes the views of people who pay attention to the two camps who fight each other. Residents, who live in the city, are afraid of them. Moreover, a tap of a marker signifies a war will occur. It scared them to the point of closing all the house doors and windows. You can’t peek but not for Sanjuro. The two camps initially faced each other. Locals observe are so afraid and panic. However, Sanjuro sat high above the central bell tower. It’s as if the character indicates he is playing a puppet doll or chess.

Sanjuro will, then, be taken to the next stage of the game. He got an opponent who was “commensurate” in his game, an unexpected Unosuke. The problem is, Unosuke is not a great “samurai” if he doesn’t have a gun. However, Sanjuro’s mind referred to how to defeat these people. He could kill a bunch of people. He didn’t want to sacrifice himself. Moreover, he doesn’t want to be in a coffin. Unosuke is a self-confidence samurai. He is a cold-psychopathic guy. But, the final battle will lead Sanjuro to this guy whether he can beat him or not. Therefore, Sanjuro suddenly turned into a hero who succeeded in carrying out his intentions; if the two camps were better off so that the city became peaceful.

The cinematography in this movie is so magnificent. A widescreen for 60s films composed with great use in the black and white format. We know that Kurosawa always uses weather, especially rain in his films. However, he used the wind in this film. When two camps face each other, the view often looks in an empty space. From afar, they face each other either from the window, the door, or others. Just like the composition wide shot at the end of the movie. Slowly and slowly, the shot is shot in a beautiful and smooth way. All the samurai slowly released their katana, the gunner as well but not his sword. They both took out their swords. However, Sanjuro wasn’t afraid to step by step. The danger and tension in this climax are worthy enough.

Toshirô Mifune as Sanjuro has an amazing performance. He became a samurai who looks cool and didn’t sell heroism. Seems that he is tangled, lazy, often yawn, he is like a wolf. Like for example, when he moves his shoulders, it’s like he always feels sore. No one would have thought that he was a great samurai. The film also has a sequel, “Sanjuro”. On the other hand, “Yojimbo” became its own originality of western with Japanese traditional set. The movement, blocking, acting, music, I don’t know. Seems like this is a kind of movie you want to talk about. This is a movie with a new offered age. Such a perfect balance.

5 out of 5 stars.

Salman Al Farisi

An Indonesian who loves to watch and read everything. A literary student who likes to write about reviews and essays on Crackdown Review. But, I just wannabe critics who love arthouse than anything.

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