One of the best known samurai films in the West?
Sword of doom is based on the historical novel Boddhisattva Pass (Dai-bosatsu tōge), which tells the story of the enormous consequences of the killing of an old man by a cynical masterless samurai. Originally, it was infused with Buddhist philosophy – the karmic retribution.
This version was directed by Kihachi Okamoto, who created a true samurai noir film, in which every traditional values have been corrupted and lost their meaning.
The main character embodies the fall of the feudal society, and seems to be the only one aware that everything is going wrong – he’s fine with it. To some extent, the film can be considered as an absurd tragedy, playing/messing with people’s beliefs and the codes of the genre (read more details here).
In case you’re wondering “what’s going on at the end of the film,” the director explains everything in this short but insightful interview!
Sword of doom is available on US DVD.
AKA 大菩薩峠 Dai-bosatsu tōge (1966)