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All Critics (10)
| Top Critics (3)
| Fresh (9)
| Rotten (1)
Directing with an old-fashioned tenderness toward his unassuming star, Ken Ochiai conjures a swan song to a waning art form and those who practice it.
A cri de coeur on the samurai flicks of a bygone era, "Uzumasa Limelight" unfolds understatedly and movingly like something from Clint Eastwood at the top of his game.
None of this goes down with any real verve, though Kamiyama's wrinkled face is a small marvel of expressivity.
Alas, maybe Uzumasa is now too similar to Hollywood and as a result, Ochiai can't help but fall into the Hollywood formulas, predictable outcomes, and narrow emotional breadth.
The film struggles to flesh out its running time, but such is its sincerity in honouring Fukumotos profession that witnessing him perform his samurai sword skills is genuinely touching.
Fukumoto would be a far worthier choice than most of the recognized best-actor contenders. One of the best films of the year, very highly recommended for all movie lovers.
The final moments of this film are perhaps a little predictable. But it's also a heartfelt tribute, both to Chaplin and to the samurai movie tradition.
What marks out Uzumasa Limelight... is its willingness to combine withering criticism of the laziness and corruption in much modern filmmaking with graciousness in the face of change.
A heartfelt tribute to the samurai-saturated chanbara films of Japanese cinema, particularly the largely unsung, intensely physical pros often found in extra roles.
It's Fukumoto's wonderfully weathered countenance that makes Ochiai's film such an elegiac delight. On it, you can see the entire history of samurai cinema, or at least that essential part of it that died often, and beautifully so.
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