Shinobi is easily the most beautiful movie I’ve seen so far this year. (And yes, I have seen Brokeback Mountain.) Based on the novel by Futaro Yamada and the manga (comic) Basilisk by Masaki Segawa, Shinobi is a feast for the soul.
The best way to describe it is a Shakespearean take on X-Men in post-feudal Japan. It’s got to be the one of the most successfully assembled commercial action-drama-CGI-romance movies I’ve ever seen. I won’t compare it to Zhang Yi Mou’s Hero because Hero was more allegorical than commercial. Of course, Hero lacks in commercial appeal because you have to watch it a few times to get it. Shinobi is a bit more universal, you get it in one viewing. (Crouching Tiger didn’t use CGI – Ang Lee kept it old school and put the actors on wires.)
But in case you’re wondering, I cried watching Shinobi. It’s got that same resonance that Brokeback does. There’s something about the threat of killing the person you love most that brings a tear to my eye. Haunting, riveting, exquisite. Read my review by clicking on genuinearticle in the links column!