Dersu Uzala - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Dersu Uzala Reviews

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Super Reviewer
August 26, 2014
This is a good film about an endearing friendship. The captain and Dersu are both likable, and the film hosts some impressive visuals. All in all, good Kurosawa. I would put this on the high side of the 4 rating. It's a film that I think may gain even more affection upon rewatches.
January 8, 2016
The Russian army is out and about in the Siberian wilderness in the early 1900's. Soon they get a new friend - Dersu, a local hunter that has lived in the woods for decades. He helps them a whole lot as he is a superbly skilled hunter, wilderness master and he is also bubling over with wise, nice words. The wildlife is the only life he can live.

This is lovly captured. Nearly two and a half hours of old history with few turns may seem like a big thing to swallow, but it's never boring. Superb photography, some memorable scenes and the splitting of the film (two parts) is nice. I won't give away a key feature here, but the turn that takes place is hitting a sweet spot.

A very long production with wild tigers, turbulent weather and great scenery. Great acting and good atmosphere. I felt I learned something important from it. It will certainly grow on me, since it's turning better in my head days after watching it. Not a fantastic film, but it's very solid, mesmerizing and unforgettable. Only my second Kurosawa flick, but there will be many more.

7.5 out of 10 Kapitans.
November 17, 2015
Wow, this movie is long....Long, long, long periods of silence in drawn out scenes. It's a thematically simple - namely, man vs. nature / man vs. man with the most touching moments involving Derzu and the Captain and how they come to appreciate and respect one another.
March 28, 2015
It's nice seeing Kurosawa movies in color. I found the story quiet and touching.
February 14, 2015
A team of Russian soldiers survey uncharted wilderness and encounter a magical mountain man who knows everything about the wild woods and nature but nothing about living in civilization. There is a scene in which he is gently mocked for speaking to everyone he knows as if nature was alive. Dersu speaks to the sun, the moon, fire and water , and especially animals as if they were people. Kurosawa's elegy to the lost spirituality of the world, the lost, downtrodden cultures of ancient times that had true awareness and purity, but was negated and trampled by the rapaciousness and brutality of modern civilization. The cinematography is downright gorgeous.
½ April 26, 2014
I'm shocked and mortified to learn this film actually won Best Foreign Language film in 1975!
April 14, 2014
Another masterpiece by Akira Kurosawa.
½ December 30, 2013
Siberia has never looked more beautiful or more dangerous than in this film. The basic premise of the film is that Russian expedition to Siberia is aided by a hunter who knows the area better than the Russians. So far so good. The film is pretty neatly divided into two halves: The first expedition they have with the hunter, and a second one years later.

The first half of the film is stunning. The wilderness shots look insanely good and Kurosawa definitely knows how to capture a sunset. In fact, one of the most beautiful shots in the film has the hunter explaining to a Russian soldier how important both the sun and the moon are.

However, it's the second half where the problems begin to start. The first expedition ends and it feels like this is where the movie should end, too. This is not the case. The second half is just less interesting than the first. It goes on for far too long and it takes its toll on a viewing audience. A subplot of how the hunter can't adjust to city life is fine and all, but it's just done in a rather dull way here.

There is quite a bit to admire, mostly the scenery, but the fact that the second half is weaker than the first really does harm the film.
August 4, 2012
Let me break this down for you. Everyone in this film, and I mean everyone, has a beard. And I'm not talking about just any beards, I'm talking about sleep-in-a-cave, fashion-a-dagger-out-of-a-stick, mistaken-for-bigfoot, Grizzly-freaking-Adams type beards here. So just think about that.
July 28, 2013
The only movie Kurosawa made outside Japan ("Dersu Uzala" was shot in the U.S.S.R.), this is something of an oddball in the director's catalog. The 1975 Oscar winner for best foreign language film is a lovable story that will please anyone who gives it the time.
July 20, 2013
Absolutely fabulous. My favorite movie of all time. Man v nature along with development of seemingly unlikely friendship. Fantastic cinematography.
½ July 16, 2013
emocionante, gran película...
June 21, 2013
Best things - Dersu's intro, his first couple of trivia, when captain and Dersu meet again, also the first goodbye, they way they have shot sun.

Worst things - pace is slow, doesn't build up. End sort of unresolved.
May 23, 2013
This is one world-class piece of work desperately in the waiting line for a BluRay revamp, watched this Kurosawa's Soviet Union film in DVD format, the quality is discouraging, but the film speaks for itself in shedding bells and whistles and homing in on a camaraderie between a Soviet military explorer and a seasoned local hunter among the bleak Ussuri inhospitable region.

Storyline-aside, it is another Kurosawa's awesome visual spectacle, a tremendous field shooting endeavor, epitomizes by the sun-moon co-existence with solemn placidness, furthermore, it is a hymn to mother nature, Dersu personifies as the harmonious co-habitant of the mighty wilderness, a sublime soul with well-versed survival skills, on the contrary to my recent watched documentary TOUCHING THE VOID (2003, 8/10), DERSU UZALA owns a purer and more admirable prospect, instead of conquering the insurmountable to chase a spur of glory and invincibility, it is far more intrepid and unpretentious to be a part of it with reverence and be respectful to its law and act, in addition to its indefatigable undertone against industrialized modernism (it is the brand-new rifle, a token of friendship, actually wreaks the somber demise of Dersu).

Strictly speaking, there is merely two characters in the film, Dersu (Munzuk) and the Russian Captain (Solomin), a bond is tenably formed through their expedition in the wild, from lush jungle to walking-on-the-thin-ice frozen river, the life-saving bravado during a squalling night when they lost their track on a snow land or a torrent peril, Kurosawa moulds a great range of topography with taut excitement where it is required. The character study of Dersu also is been executed through the observation and the interaction from Captain (viewers' proxy), who is enthralled by Dersu's simple yet ethereal nature, a rare bird may or may not be extinct now. The dual-acting from Munzuk and Solomin is the fruit of naturalistic emancipation and unassuming engagement.

Also a memorable presence is Isaak Shvarts's accompanying score segues from lithe to menacing, eerie to sonorous, with Russian folklore and shanty as well.

Being a Chinese, I cannot avoid mentioning the sensitive timing (after China and Japan's rapprochement in 1972 and China and Soviet Union's dispute in 1969) of the film-making, which prompted an accusation from Chinese government concerns a so-called political libel on Chinese people, mainly by vilifying Hunhutsi (which literally means red beard in Mandarin) as the villain and the nature-balance defier. But honestly, this episode is largely overstated since there is no direct confrontation at all in the film, at least for my compatriots, don't let this smokescreen blinds your eyes, DERSU UZALA is a spirited ethnological oeuvre could inspire whoever has a chance to watch it, preferably on a big screen or at least a BluRay edition.
½ March 3, 2010
The character Dersu Uzala is very nice. A pretty message about friendship and nature. I liked specially one shot with a brilliant sun in a black sky. However, it did not convince me very much (too much slow pace for me; main character and intentions is bigger than movie itself). Between 2 and 2.5.
January 29, 2013
Though the film is classy and adventurous, it is too full of cliches and easy philosophy to be even considered among Kurosawa's most interesting works.
November 2, 2012
i watched this years ago and it was great movie
½ August 8, 2012
This is now the 5th Kurosawa picture I have seen and it joins Kagemusha; Throne Of Blood; Seven Samurai and Ikiru as a singular masterwork.
It is something wholly different, a tale of a hunter alone at one with nature who guides a band of russian soldiers on their survey expedition.
Plain, spartan and made with care and compassion, Dersu Uzala is a must see for those who like being in the great outdoors.
Wonderful film
August 23, 2012
A study in humanity. The scene collecting the grass is awakening.
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