Dersu Uzala - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Dersu Uzala Reviews

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½ August 27, 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.
½ August 5, 2012
This is Kurosawa's first film after his attempted suicide. A project that he had on the back burner for decades, he finally got to make it as a Russian/Japanese co-production. The results are mixed in my opinion, but it gave Kurosawa a much needed boost that allowed him to go on to make a final few masterpieces in the twilight of his career.

There isn't much of a plot. Really only vignettes of this man born and raised in the wilderness guiding Russian surveyors in the wilderness and how his view of life differs from his companions. For 2.5 hours, a philosophical back and forth isn't all that compelling (had to finish this in two sittings). The tragic end of the story picks up a lot more though and gives a suitably reverent and appropriate closing to the story.

Although this was filmed in 70mm and Kurosawa's second color picture, the transfer on the DVD is terrible and doesn't do the sweeping landscapes and forests any justice. This needs a blu-ray transfer badly, but I doubt it will get one even though Kurosawa won an Oscar for it.

It's not a feature that gets mentioned very often in Kurosawa's oeuvre and honestly...I can see why. Not that it's bad, just nowhere near as compelling as his other films. Probably only recommended to Kurosawa completists.
July 31, 2012
I watched this movie when I was 7 years old, still remember it. Great movie!
July 10, 2012



½ January 3, 2012
Dersu Uzala is without a doubt one of the best russian films I have seen. It is a film that haunts me still. It is a story of a lone hunter that befriends some explorers and guides them through the wilderness of Siberia.
The cinematography is spectacular (Kurosawa--need I say more?) and the story is so well told. The story is both obvious and subtle at the same time. The old man guides them and they survive. Also the old man represents the ways of the hills--even represents the hills and wilderness itself--and we see how he fails to fit in with civilization and progress. It is a story of great triumph and great sorrow. It it does not move you, then you are truly dead inside.
January 3, 2012
I decided to watch this film because Kurosawa was Japan's best director. I don't think any other Japanese director has come close. This film is simple yet interesting. I would like to see a modern remake of this movie.
October 26, 2011
Noteworthy, a film by Kurosawa. Simple and touching story about friendship between a Russian explorer (Captain Arsentiev) and a Goldi hunter (Dersu Uzala) - how they travel, hunt, survive and learn from each other. Eventually Dersu looses his hunting skills and the Captain invites him to a town to live with his family. The hunter can't get used to that and returns to taiga.
½ July 11, 2011
A simple man living a simple life. He makes a quick and lasting friend in a Russian explorer after saving his life. He's also quite bright for how dumb he seems. An interesting character study from Kurosawa.
July 3, 2011
A beautiful movie about a beautiful friendship, and another example of how godly Kurosawa is!
April 28, 2011
An epic tale on the story of man and mother nature. Kurosawa's Russian journey through the wilderness of friendship and old age. It's filmed with an ancient visual palette and at times it feels as if it's in real time. Very slow-paced but endlessly rewarding. By the end, you feel as if you've been in the wilderness. Most refreshing is how Kurosawa resists close-ups. Everything is matter-of-fact and neutral (just like in nature). There is no sentimentality yet the film is very touching. The scenes of intensity are gripping and extremely realistic and believable. The film is steeped in authenticity and it's not without its humor. It's fitting that Kurosawa made this unique film considering his most inspirational authors were all Russian.
April 9, 2011
The chance-meeting between two people, their friendship and relations, unexpected encounters and farewells make for the story-line. Its main theme is Man and Nature, the loving care of Man towards nature which is necessary to both sides. Another Kurosawa master-piece, where each frame is carefully composed to form a dramatic picture.
April 8, 2011
Recently watched and amazed how well it's holding up. A little slow, but very cinematic and all the Kurosawa "goods" -- angles, composition,cutting-- still there in a living color.
½ March 7, 2011
Not a masterpiece as it was said in the trailer! But, a fine film, no doubt. The story is very simple. I really liked the shooting in various climate changes. It has good performances by the two leads. A powerful film about survival and friendship.
Super Reviewer
½ February 18, 2011
Simple but powerful. Captain Arseniev is looking for a grave on a construction site in 1910. Flashback to 1902 when he and a group of soldiers are on a mission to map out the wilderness between Russia and China. The soldiers are a rowdy bunch. A hunter comes upon the soldiers speaking kind of broken Russian. The Captain welcomes him and offers him food. Thus begins the friendship of the Capitan and Dersu Uzala. Dersu is Gonli, or Mongolian. He has lost his family and lives in the woods moving from temporary shelter to shelter. The soldiers come to respect Dersu's tracking skills, his concern for all the "men" who live in the forest, and his skill with a rifle. The Capitan especially gains great admiration for Dersu's survival skills and spirituality. The wind, water, fire, sun, moon, plants, and animals are all "men" deserving of the same respect and concern as human men of whatever race. Through the seasons, two expeditions with different sets of men, and obstacles like getting lost on a frozen tundra, being washed down rapids, and facing a tiger the bond between the Capitan and Dersu is strengthened. Dersu has a beautiful understanding of the environment and also a joyful sense of humor. There are lots of wise quotes. The plot is slowly paced, but keeps a good steady rhythm. The images of nature through all the seasons are often breathtaking. Dersu is much older than the Capitan. He has so much knowledge, but when his eyesight begins to go what is a hunter supposed to do? The third act has Captain Arseniev with his wife and son welcoming Dersu to his house in the city. For a man who has lived his whole life in the hills the city is too constricting despite the still close bond between the two men. Kurosawa realistically immerses the audience in the story's time and place, but more importantly develops this magnificent friendship.
February 6, 2011
Dersu és un gran personatge, i la història d'amistat molt maca. Però és lenta, reiterativa, i es fa llarguíssima. Kurosawa és un mestre, però en té de millors. 6/10
January 30, 2011
Among Akira Kurosawa's most untouchable and majestic masterpiece, along with Rashomon and Seven Samurai. In this picture we follow Capt. Arseniev and his men on a journey through to an unknow and uncivilized territorys for reconnaissance and explore the Ussuri region. One night, the group hear some noises from the threes, and an old Nanai hunter named Dersu Uzala who's first being laugh at by the other soldiers for his loosey russian, but is after time more respected and everybody is looking up to him as a saint, because of his survival skills. He became close friend with Capt. Arseniev. This is based on true events. Dersu Uzala is a beautiful picture about the journey through the unknown and merciless mother nature, where the tigers still was the king of the sibirian forrest. There's also this suberb cinematography, the beautiful shot of a horizon with a red sun and a blue moon in the same shot. A movie you don't want to miss.
January 27, 2011
One of my favourite films. Its greatest power is achieved in the character of Dersu who constantly struggles with nature and relentlessly uses his acquired craft as a woodsman as well as his generational knowledge to fight its forces. Its a masterful examination in the borderline that exists between wilderness and civilistation
January 21, 2011
This 2 hr movie feels at times like a 3 hr movie. Even by Kurasowa's standards, some of the scenes go on way too long. Still, and perhaps in spite of any attempt at editing, this film does succeed whenever "Dersu" is on camera. In essence this is a film about friendship between two cultures, and one man's inability to adapt to "civilized" life. If you are looking for classic, more action based Kurosawa, stay with "Seven Samurai", "Throne of Blood" or "Ran". This film at times feels more Bergman than Kurosawa.
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