Onimasa is a Japanese drama movie released in 1982 directed by Hideo Gosha. The film stars Tatsuya Nakadai, Masako Natsume, and Akiko Nakamura in lead roles. Based on a novel by Tomiko Miyao, Onimasa is a story of a yakuza boss and his family, who get involved in the political and social turmoil of Japan during the early 20th century.
The movie revolves around the life of Masagoro or Onimasa (Tatsuya Nakadai), a powerful yakuza boss from Okayama Prefecture, Japan. He runs a gang that rules his area with an iron fist, and often uses violent means to maintain his power. Despite his rough exterior, he is a man of great honor and heart, and commands respect from both his subordinates and rivals.
Onimasa lives with his wife Matsue (Masako Natsume), daughter Matsuyo (Akiko Nakamura), and adopted son Jiro (Masanobu Takashima). Matsue is a loyal and loving wife who takes care of her family, despite Onimasa's infidelities. Matsuyo is Onimasa's pride and joy, a beautiful and intelligent girl who is trained to become a geisha. Jiro is a young man who Onimasa adopted, seeing his potential as a yakuza. He is the apple of Onimasa's eye, and he trains him to be a ruthless and efficient gangster.
The story unfolds with Japan's rapid transformation, as it moves towards modernity and enters the World War II era. Onimasa and his gang get involved with the military, and their services are utilized to maintain order in Japan. His daughter Matsuyo gets caught in a love triangle with the son of an influential politician and a lieutenant in Onimasa's gang. Onimasa's world is turned upside down when his wife Matsue discovers his affair with a young geisha, leading to a tragic turn of events that threaten to tear the family apart.
The movie presents a complex and nuanced portrayal of the yakuza culture and its power dynamics. It captures the essence of Japanese feudal society with its strict code of honor and loyalty. Onimasa is portrayed as a larger-than-life figure whose personal life and yakuza world intersect in unexpected ways. It explores the themes of love and loyalty, sacrifice, and the impact of societal changes on traditional values.
The acting performances are exceptional, with Tatsuya Nakade delivering a powerful performance as Onimasa, portraying the character's brutality and vulnerability with equal finesse. Masako Natsume as Matsue brings depth to her character, portraying her as a strong and compassionate woman who is torn between her love for her husband and the desire to protect her family. Akiko Nakamura delivers an exceptional performance as Matsuyo, portraying the character's growth and transformation throughout the movie.
The cinematography and art direction are stunning, with the movie capturing the beauty of the Japanese culture and tradition. The film's music is composed by Isao Tomita, who brings a haunting and melancholic quality to the score.
In conclusion, Onimasa is a timeless masterpiece that showcases the brilliance of Japanese cinema. It explores the complexities of the yakuza culture and the impact of societal changes on personal identity and values. The movie is an unforgettable experience that leaves a lasting impression on the viewers' minds.