Queen & Slim
Once Upon a Time In Hollywood
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As the title implies, this film is about the battle of sekigahara, the pivotal battle that effectively ended the warring states era in japan and united the country under the tokugawa shogunate which lasted for centuries afterward. Other movies and books have been made about this event (the film itself is based on Ryutaro Shiba's epic novel). However, instead of centering the film around the victor, Tokugawa Ieyasu, Japan's first Shogun, this film is about the losing end of the battle: Ishida Mitsunari.
The film does a good job at making me understand Mitsunari's goals and ambitions. Much of this film is about his building a coalition of allies, advisors and ninjas. he truly believes that he is doing what is best for his country and surrounds himself with those who feel the same. Which makes the eventual betrayal and annihilation of his army (400 year old spoiler alert) feel much more sad.
The film looks beautiful. Outside shots in the forest especially looked amazing. Oddly enough, the battle itself seemed very meh in comparison. The film focuses on only a couple characters during the battle and made it feel small. Tens of thousands of soldiers fought and died over 6 or 7 hours of fighting in the real thing. Why does this battle feel more like a skirmish?
Another problem I had was the length of the film. There were some points of the film that could've been cut. Specifically, scenes involving Mitsunari's love interest in the third act. I loved her character and her undying loyalty to her master. However, the way her character ended up made the film feel longer and didn't pay off.
Long story short, this is a beautiful looking movie with great supporting characters and gives insight and empathy for the losing side. I just wished that a movie about a monumental battle would have more battling in it.