The Hidden Blade

Watch The Hidden Blade

  • R
  • 2004
  • 2 hr 12 min
  • 7.7  (7,096)
  • 76

The Hidden Blade is a 2004 Japanese drama film directed by Yoji Yamada. The movie is set in the 19th century feudal Japan, known as the Edo period. The film revolves around a samurai named Munezo Katagiri, played by Masatoshi Nagase, who serves his lord and maintains peace in his domain. However, in his personal life, Munezo struggles to reconcile his duty to his family with his loyalty to his profession.

Munezo serves as a samurai in the service of a local lord called the Ii clan. He is not a high-ranking official, and instead works as the commander of the domain's police force. As an honest and just samurai, Munezo finds himself at odds with the corruption among the high-rank samurais in the Ii clan. One day, he learns that a childhood friend, Kie, played by Takako Matsu, will soon be married off to a powerful clan member as a peace offering. Munezo had been secretly in love with Kie since their youth, and he soon finds himself facing a moral dilemma over whether to act on his feelings or maintain his samurai oath of loyalty.

Meanwhile, Munezo is also tasked with training the new recruit, a young samurai named Kataoka, portrayed by Hidetaka Yoshioka. Kataoka comes from a lower social class, and Munezo is sympathetic to his struggles. However, Kataoka has a dark secret. He is part of a group of samurais, known as the Shinsengumi, who are planning to overthrow the Ii clan and seize power. Munezo's loyalty to the Ii clan and sense of duty are tested, as he must decide whether to turn in Kataoka and risk his life or overlook his actions, which could lead to disastrous consequences.

The Hidden Blade is a beautifully crafted drama that examines the complex relationships between samurais, their loyalty to their lord, and their personal lives. The movie showcases the challenges that samurais face in a complex society where maintaining honor and serving the greater good can often conflict with personal desires and emotions. Director Yoji Yamada masterfully depicts the samurai way of life, depicting their culture, customs, and beliefs in an authentic and compelling manner. The cinematography is also stunning, showcasing the beauty of rural Japan and capturing the samurais' stoic and honorable nature.

The film's main characters are well-developed and portrayed with great nuance and sensitivity. Masatoshi Nagase delivers an outstanding performance as Munezo, portraying the stoic and honorable samurai with great depth and complexity. Takako Matsu also delivers a heartfelt performance as Kie, bringing a subtle and nuanced portrayal of the character as torn between her duty as a woman and her independent spirit. Hidetaka Yoshioka also shines as Kataoka, delivering a compelling portrayal of a conflicted samurai that brings the perfect balance of menace and vulnerability to the character.

Overall, The Hidden Blade is a captivating and profound film that explores the complexities of samurai culture, duty, and honor. With great performances, stunning visuals, and a masterful direction by Yoji Yamada, the movie is an essential viewing for anyone interested in Japanese cinema, culture, and history.

The Hidden Blade is a 2004 drama with a runtime of 2 hours and 12 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.7 and a MetaScore of 76.

The Hidden Blade
Where to Watch The Hidden Blade
The Hidden Blade is available to watch free on Kanopy. It's also available to stream, download on demand at . Some platforms allow you to rent The Hidden Blade for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    2 hr 12 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.7  (7,096)
  • Metascore