DVD Rating: **1/2

Reviewed by: Anton Bitel

Read Anton Bitel's film review of Assassination

Eureka! Video's The Masters Of Cinema series is quickly establishing itself as the label of choice for quality releases of lost classics. This excellent package represents not only the first ever release of Assassination on home video in the West, but also is faithful to the crisp details of the film's original Cinemascope vision, thanks to a new, flawlessly restored high definition transfer. Toru Takemitsu's discordant score has never sounded sharper, or clearer, while the (optional) English subtitles make use of a new and improved translation.

The introduction by filmmaker Alex Cox (9min) discusses the complicated historical period in which Assassination is set, the unconventionality of the film's hero and director Masahiro Shinoda's own conservative background as an Imperialist, before drawing attention to the beauty of the cinematography and the sophistication of the storytelling and drawing fruitful comparisons with Akira Kurosawa's Yojimbo, made three years earlier. Some viewers, however, (and I'm certainly one of them) may take exception to Cox's insistence that the protagonist Kiyokawa is motivated by staunch Imperialist convictions. Surely, the film asks whether this is the case, rather than simply stating that it is so, and the issue is (at least to me) no less clear in the end than at the beginning.

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Other extras include a gallery of exquisite stills, taken from the original Shochiku promotional material, and a scholarly 24-page booklet, with a new essay by Joan Mellen.

Reviewed on: 08 Feb 2006
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Assassination packshot
Battle for supremacy in 19th century Japan, as America attempts to open trade routes.
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Product Code: EKA40201

Region: 2

Ratio: 2.35:1

Sound: Dolby Digital stereo

Extras: Introduction by Alex Cox; Stills Gallery; 24-page booklet

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