We learn about other peoples through their myths and legends. The feudal action film, 47 Ronin, directed by Carl Rinsch, provides an interesting insight into the Japanese culture.
Based on a true story, writers Chris Morgan and Hossein Amini have created a fantasy complete with a dark witch and demons. It’s a story about an admirable type of honor, that is denigrated by too much formalism and rigidity and too little heart. It comes across like the Japanese version of an American Western. The distinction between the cultures shows up in the Japanese adherence in the letter of the law versus the American belief in the spirit of the law, as well as showing mercy.
In this story, it’s the Shogun or Ruler, who should be committing suicide by seppuku for judging too quickly, not the valiant ronin.
The film is justly criticized for its extraordinarily high budget of $175 million, but that’s the problem of the financiers. The viewer is treated to sumptuous costumes and sets. And, although first-time feature director Rinsch does not bring forth much depth from Keanu Reeves and the rest of his cast, the film is still a decent actioner.
I give 47 Ronin a 3 out of 5.