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aka - Double, The
Japan 1980
Directed by Akira Kurosawa
Running time 162 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
2.5 stars

At the time this story of feuding 16th century samurai was the most expensive Japanese movie ever made (Francis Coppola and George Lucas executive produced and 20th Century Fox financed) and it was critically well-received, sharing the Palme D'Or with All That Jazz, amongst other international festival prizes. Whilst admittedly visually gorgeous it is, however, a laboured affair, Kurosawa spending nearly half the film on setting up the main issue of the body double who is meant to provide an insurance  for a warlord and then failing to do much with it (the original print was 181 mins, cut to 152 mins for international release, the version referred to here), the film tending to rely on charging horsemen and fluttering flags for a sense of drama that never eventuates. Kurosawa would revisit the subject in Ran (1985) and get it right.




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