Friday, March 18, 2011

Ballad (2009)

At a glance:
A young boy is transported back from modern day Japan to feudal times where he is befriended by a brave Samuai

Our review (with spoilers):
In modern day Japan, a young boy named Shinichi (Akashi Takei) is transported back to feudal times. Befriended by brave Samurai Iriri (Tsuyoshi Kusanagi), he is soon embroiled in a war between rival houses. At stage is the beautiful Princess Ren (Yui Aragaki), who loves Ijiri but may have to end up with a brutal warlord Takagora (Mitsuru Fukikoshi). Ballad has limited production values, but it hides these behind a strong story and dedicated acting.

From what I can tell, Ballad is/was a TV movie in Japan. It is geared toward a family audience, and although that is evident, it does not condescend. At a little over two hours, it perhaps overstays its welcome slightly; the final one-third contains a lot of posturing and is glacially paced, but part of this may be a cultural thing – there is, I believe, a need for all this posturing, and this film is not made for an international audience.

Rating: 2.75 of 4

Other reviewers said:
"I liked the way the past meets the future in "Ballad" — with lively curiosity, but otherwise not a lot of fuss."
- Mark Schilling (The Japan Times)

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