Zatoichi and the Chest of Gold (1964)
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Critic Reviews for Zatoichi and the Chest of Gold
Audience Reviews for Zatoichi and the Chest of Gold
My favorite Zatoichi up to this point, and a change in the style in several ways. The character development is still there but the style, especially in the introduction and in the use of fast movement speed and blood in the film. In all the other Zatoichi films up to this point when multiple men are killed and slashed multiple times they simply fall down dead with not a mark on them. In Zatoichi and the Chest of Gold however, every slash seems to explode in blood and countless bodies are soaked in crimson, and it really adds to the realism. I mean seeing people supposedly struck down with a katana means you are losing limbs and being sliced into pieces, so the blood is a welcome addition. The style is very theatrical in looks and I think it really adds to the film and it's themes quite well, and is a blast to watch!
When you get to the 6th film in a strong series, you can either continue down the tried and tested path or you can deviate. Zatoichi and the Chest of Gold does a bit of both. Keeping the film similar in terms of character and story, while offering a brand new style to the mix. This style isn't intrusive or distracting in any way, but it is noticeable. From the opening credits, where Zatoichi slays people against a black background, it already seems more stylised. We see very brave and dramatic shots, such as samurai running a hill directly over the camera. It announces a braver film than previous efforts. The film is really empthasises the yellows of the colour palette, giving it a warm golden glow. Another new addition is the blood, we see it now, and it gushes without ever being glorified. As a character, Zatoichi is expanded upon. We see more of the weak, towards drink and women, Zatoichi. There's also a paternal moment where Zatoichi guides a boy through a forest. The script really makes a point of highlighting the moments we come to expect from Zatoichi. We are also treated to a fantastic final battle, in which Zatoichi meets his toughest match yet, and it isn't just your ordinary sword fight. A fantastic film full of excitement and great writing. It is also easily accessible for anybody new to the series.
One of the most innovatively filmed in the series with a story outside the formula. If you see one Zatoichi movie, make it this one!
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