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47 Ronin, Big Ninja Boss, Keanu Reeves, Hiroyuki Sanada, Tadanobu Asano, Rinko Kikuchi, Ko Shibasaki, Min Tanaka, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Jin Akanishi, Masayoshi Haneda, Masayuki Deai, Togo Igawa, Gedde Watanabe,

47 Ronin [mild spoilers]: follows a group of disgraced samurai as they set out to avenge their murdered master. As it’s a Hollywood film it obviously contains every single ‘western portrayal of Asia’ pitfall imaginable – everyone speaking ‘Engrish’, exotic mystique, ninjas/samurai everywhere, forbidden gaijin romance, cherry blossom, western warrior, kanji writing, tradition, tradition, tradition… Because of this – and given the foul reviews this received – I was expecting something woeful, but this is pleasantly surprising. The visuals are fantastic: it is a touch over-styalised – some parts feel like Sucker Punch set in feudal Japan – but the costumes, textures, sets, CGI backgrounds are all eye-poppingly sumptuous: it’s up there with The Fall’s immaculate design. Story-wise, other than a few swashbuckling & sword fighting action set pieces, this is definitely more of a drama than you expect: the story arcs are all fairly standard until the ‘happy’ ending – a mass samurai suicide instead of a mass criminal hanging – yay! The biggest complaint you hear about this is that it’s nothing like the original story: WTF?! This is a blockbuster movie… and there are so many fictionalized accounts of this tale that there’s a specific entire genre term for it – Chūshingura! The weirdest thing about 47 Ronin is that it plays to two wildly different audiences – it’s half respectful and traditional samurai movie; and half Game of Thrones style middle-earth mayhem (battles, questing, magic & mythology). Overall, it’s an interesting, and beautiful, oddity that could have been great, but is by no means a terrible movie.

Score: 6/10

47 Ronin, Silhouette Keanu Reeves, Hiroyuki Sanada, Tadanobu Asano, Rinko Kikuchi, Ko Shibasaki, Min Tanaka, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Jin Akanishi, Masayoshi Haneda, Masayuki Deai, Togo Igawa, Gedde Watanabe,

47 Ronin, Set Keanu Reeves, Hiroyuki Sanada, Tadanobu Asano, Rinko Kikuchi, Ko Shibasaki, Min Tanaka, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Jin Akanishi, Masayoshi Haneda, Masayuki Deai, Togo Igawa, Gedde Watanabe,

Berberian Sound Studio Tonia Sotiropoulou, Toby Jones, Susanna Cappellaro, Cosimo Fusco, Suzy Kendall,Berberian Sound Studio: A mild-mannered sound designer / foley artist is hired to work on an Italian Giallo (B-move slasher) film – and goes a bit mad in the process. The director is clearly fixated on the mechanics of period cinema: there’s a lot of shots of spinning reels, needles, gauges, readings, dials, etc. This is interesting for about 2 minutes. Then there’s the foley work where you see how everyday objects make unlikely sounds. This is interesting for about 10 minutes (tops!). If only the director had been so fascinated by things like plot, dialogue, editing, and entertainment – all of which are categorically absent from this. It feels like a 10 minute short stuffed to breaking point with so much pointless filler. It keeps cutting to a ‘Silence!’ sign – for no reason. There are lingering close ups of rotten vegetables – for no reason. There’s a tantalisingly sexy Italian receptionist – for no reason. Finally, for a movie about movie sound, the sound mix is laughable – quiet LOUD quiet LOUD and some generically eerie scratching / screetching for dramatic effect. This 100% feels more like an art/pet project than a legitimate movie. Schmerschmerian Schmoud Schmudio. Bleurgh.

Score: 1/10