Zatoichi In Desperation (1972)
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Audience Reviews for Zatoichi In Desperation
While some critics have given a negative or harsh opinion of this 24th Zatoichi film, I rather enjoyed it and found a lot to like, despite the nihilistic and depressing tone of the film. It was Shintaro Katsu (Zatoichi) himself that directed this installment and utilizes many unusual angles and camerawork. I thought the tone and brutality was actually a welcome change of pace for me actually. Yes it's hard to watch as the evil and brutal yakuza mock, torture, and murder any and everyone they find problems with or even simply just to pass the time with. But this tone is simply a progression for Ichi as he has endured a lifetime of battle and all the associated suffering from it, both physically and mentally. The film is very very dark and offers not even a glimpse of hope or humor to break this bleak feeling but it's believable and lends a very heavy and harsh but needed dramatic weight to the series. This is a different film in the saga but one that is all the better for it!
Katsu jumps behind the camera for this installment, and what an installment it is. Zatoichi in Desperation is no understatement of a title. This is a very dark and disturbing film, by any standards. The film begins with Zatoichi walking across a bridge and meeting an old woman, they chat for a bit before Zatoichi offers her some money. As she goes to take it, she falls through a gap in the bridge. This leads Zatoichi to search for the womans daughter. This film has some truly grim moments, which are hard to stomach or continue to watch. A mentally handicapped man is sexually abused for the amusement of others before being beaten. A young boy has his head caved in, and even Zatoichi takes on an excruciating punishment. It's worse than just a beating, it's a humiliation and one Zatoichi fans wont be comfortable seeing. Katsu gives a lot of attention to the world around Zatoichi, making for a fleshed out story that doesn't detract from the protagonist. He also has a distinct visual flair that sets this apart from other films in the series. Katsu WAS this character on every level, and this is one of Zatoichi's finest films, if not one of the characters finest moments.
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