Soza (Junichi Okada) embeds himself in the poor quarters of Edo, seeking vengeance for the death of his father. But life in the row houses slowly starts to grow on him especially when he starts to tutor the neighborhood kids. Hirokazu Koreeda's film is an anti-thesis to most movies depicting the jidaigeki era. The protagonist is better at wielding a pen rather than a sword and is heavily conflicted about his duty. The other characters in the film are quirky and fit seamlessly in the scenes of comic realism. Koreeda's masterstroke is in juxtaposing the story of the 47 ronin by having a couple of them hiding out in the row houses. Putting Tadanobu Asano in a small but important role just adds to the class of the movie. And to really sweeten the deal there is Rie Miyazawa... enough said!
Rating: * * *