Mimura Shinnojo (Kimura Takuya) is a lowly Japanese samurai who's employed by his clan as a food taster. It's a dead end job with zero job satisfaction, but it pays the bills. One day Shinnojo's life as he knew it is cut short when he discovers poison in his food. Add Synopsis In Portuguese
Cast & Credits
Through an unfortunate twist of fate Mimura Shinnojo's life is never the same again after he discovers poison in food meant for his clan's lord. It causes a series of events that would rock the resolve of the strongest of men. For me, Love & Honor was the most entertaining of the 3 films. Where the other two films were slow-paced & preoccupied with portraying the mundane, everyday lives of low caste samurais Love & Honor was more fast-paced, though not by a lot, and more developed to keep the viewer wondering what would happen next.
I kept watching The Twilight Samurai and The Hidden Blade because I became attached to the characters and wanted to see what happened to them even though the pacing of their stories would have bored a less patient viewer. Love & Honor was slightly different in that the story pulled you in as much as your affection for the characters.
And let's face it, the fact that Kimura Takuya is the star of the movie makes it a worthwhile watch, but the film is anchored on it's own merit by having an engaging plot as well.
Performance wise everyone delivered. Kimura played a disabled man in this film. I'm tempted to give him high scores all around because I love the guy so much, but if I'm entirely honest his 'disability' was perhaps the weakest point in his act. I wasn't totally convinced. I've seen movies where other actors were more authentic. Having said that the lovely Mr. Kimura delivered on all other counts, with the usual charm, emotion and dedication he's known and loved for. He plays a very vulnerable character in need of tender, loving care in the movie. So for lady viewers he's bound to awaken your nurturing instincts because you just want to reach in, give him a hug & a kiss and tell him everything is going to be alright. :)
The other actors did well too. In particular the actress who played Mimura's wife.
Overall I found this movie to be more emotionally gripping than the other two, and in order of preference Love & Honor would be my first, followed by the The Twilight Samurai and then The Hidden Blade.
All three films tell the stories of low caste samurais struggling to survive. There's an element of romance in all of them, and the added bonus of all 3 films in the trilogy ending on a very satisfying note.Samurai films are almost always synonymous with death, in my experience, but another reason to love this trilogy is that they follow a different path in this regard.
Love and Honor, in particular, puts a lot more emphasis on the romance than The Twilight Samurai & The Hidden Blade. It packs a stronger emotional punch, and is thus one of the reasons the film worked so well for me.
The films are all similar in mood & tone, though L&H is slightly more upbeat than the others which felt more melancholic & dreary. The charm of these films, in my opinion, is that they're very good in portraying the not so glorious side of Samurai life. Therefore, if you're looking for a Samurai movie with the sweeping, epic battles these are not the films for you.
Here the Samurai profession is not as 'pedestalized' as it normally is in other films. Many of the Samurais featured are poor & barely earning enough to support their families. The heroes of these movies are simple men wanting simple pleasures out of life, but by their lowly status are forced to live under the thumb of brutal feudal lords. They work as Samurais not necessarily because they want to, but because they have no other choice.
I think the trilogy is well worth the watch, but if you're not given to the Japanese's affinity toward slow paced narratives then I'd say prioritize Love & Honor, if nothing else. The films are independent of each other so you won't be missing anything if you choose to watch one and not the other.