Critics Consensus

Bunraku admirably strives for visual panache, but the staging, acting, and effects are dismal with a complete lack of excitement.



Reviews Counted: 23

liked it

Audience Score

User Ratings: 4,499


All Critics | Top Critics
Average Rating: N/A
Reviews Count: 0
Fresh: 0
Rotten: 0


Average Rating: 3.2/5

You may have noticed some of the recent changes we have made. To read more about what we’ve been working on behind the scenes, please check out our new RT Product Blog here.

Want to See

Add Rating
My Rating    

Bunraku Photos

Movie Info

A mysterious drifter (Josh Hartnett) and an ardent young Japanese warrior Yoshi (Gackt) both arrive in a town that has been terrorized by outrageous and virulent criminals. Each is obsessed with his separate mission, and guided by the wisdom of The Bartender (Woody Harrelson) at the Horseless Horseman Saloon, the two eventually join forces to bring down the corrupt and contemptuous reign of Nicola (Ron Perlman), the awesomely evil "woodcutter" and his lady Alexandra (Demi Moore), a femme fatale with a secret past. This classic tale is re-vitalized and re-imagined in an entirely fresh visual context, set in a unique world that mixes skewed reality with shadow-play fantasy, a place where even the landscape can betray you. -- (C) Picturesque Films

Watch it now


Josh Hartnett
as The Drifter
Woody Harrelson
as Bartender
as Yoshi
Kevin Mckidd
as Killer No. 2
Jordi Molla
as Valentine
Demi Moore
as Alexandra
View All

News & Interviews for Bunraku

Critic Reviews for Bunraku

All Critics (23) | Top Critics (13)

  • It should surprise no one that visually quirky, graphic-novelish, pulp-noir action flicks rarely come through the sausage machine intact.

    Sep 30, 2011 | Rating: 1/5 | Full Review…
  • It's not difficult to see why this movie - which reportedly cost $25 million - has been looking for a release date since it was finished more than three years ago.

    Sep 30, 2011 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
  • Extremely cool-looking in the manner of "Sin City,'' but clumsily staged, slackly acted and mind-numbingly dull...

    Sep 30, 2011 | Full Review…
  • A potpourri of genres that ends up a morass of clichés.

    Sep 29, 2011 | Rating: 1/5 | Full Review…
  • "Bunraku" is so desensitizing with its hyper-stylized distractions and movie references it feels more mush-up than mash-up.

    Sep 29, 2011 | Rating: 1.5/5 | Full Review…
  • One long, extensively choreographed fight sequence in which "mortal" blows are delivered so often, and with so little lasting impact, that a brawl just becomes a brawl becomes a brawl.

    Sep 29, 2011 | Rating: 1.5/4

Audience Reviews for Bunraku

Films like this really need to manage their style and substance. Josh Hartnett plays a lone stranger in a world where guns have become outlawed. He is joined by lone swordsman, and the two form a friendship with a bartender. They each have their own gripes with the mysterious leader of the town, who is protected by a group of assassins. Bunraku starts off really cool, and the visuals continue to impress throughout. It takes on forms of puppetry at times, and also uses the aesthetics of a pop-up book for its transitions. The wonderfully constructed sets hide the limited budget and the action scenes are competently choreographed. All this said though, it is certainly reminiscent of every western ever made. By paying too much homage, the twists and turns become apparent early on. An exciting and fun film, but when something looks this good, you wish it try a little harder.

Luke Baldock
Luke Baldock

Super Reviewer

What a very strange movie. It looks like it was shot on the same soundstage (and with the same crew) as Repo! The Genetic Opera, with its lush and surreal colour scheme and odd use of animation in the narrative. In this world, there are no backgrounds, only trompe d'oeil paintings, and people often hang chandeliers outdoors while cultivating rock gardens in their homes. I get the feeling that more interesting things could have been done in a movie world where the mob is in full force but guns don't exist. I think one of the biggest troubles of this movie is the fact that all the characters are so terribly, otherworldly cool that the writers and actors forgot to make them real. I couldn't connect with anyone. Everyone was as invincible, or sullen, or artificially flawed as the heroes of Livejournal poetry. They are simply instruments upon which to hang all the novel ideas of this film, but I really didn't care about what happened to anyone. Actually, I'd like to see another story, written by someone else that takes place in this diegetic world. Hmm. Off to read fanfic!

Emily Armstrong
Emily Armstrong

Super Reviewer

Style to spare but nothing else to offer. Unoriginal, thin, overlong, and often silly.

Steve K
Steve K

Super Reviewer

Guy Moshe's Bunraku goes heavy on the visuals, but is that enough?

The pacing of the story is consistently moderate; however, it is the film's style and storytelling that really drags this 2 hour picture down. Very film noir in nature, the constant narration and background music becomes tiresome. Combining that with the visual look, which is a mix between a comic book and the Bunraku Japanese puppet theater style where this film gets its title from, turns things into a monotonous piece of work.

The action contains some promise with the choreography and the bloody violence, for the most part, is held in check; although there is enough to warrant an R rating.

Similarly with the film's tone, the performances by the likes of Josh Hartnett, Woody Harrelson, Gackt, and Ron Perlman are all colorless and dry. Kevin McKidd tends to standout from the rest with some spark in his character.

Bunraku does have its artistic elements, but in the end things turn out less entertaining than expected.

JY Skacto
JY Skacto

Super Reviewer

Bunraku Quotes

News & Features