enowned director Yamada Yoji brings his acclaimed samurai trilogy to a beautiful close with Love and Honor (a.k.a. Bushi no Ichibun). Like Twilight Samurai and Hidden Blade, Love and Honor is based on the works of Fujisawa Shuhei, and the story follows a familiar arc, portraying a samurai's struggle for honor in the face of harrowing challenges. While his previous two films were helmed by screen veterans Sanada Hiroyuki and Nagase Masatoshi, for Love and Honor Yamada chose pop icon Kimura Takuya as the film's star. The casting initially drew skepticism as, though Kimura had appeared in many television dramas, he had little film experience. Kimura, however, made the role his own, delivering a career-defining performance. Under Yamada's assured hand, the rich aesthetics and restrained acting give way to an increasingly emotional and intense story that culminates with a gripping sword duel. Winning both at box office and with critics, Love and Honor just might be the best of the trilogy.
Though he is low rank with modest means, young samurai Mimura Shinnojo (Kimura Takuya) has a fairly happy and stable life with his loving wife Kayo (Dan Rei). All this comes crashing down, however, when Shinnojo, as the lord's food taster, eats poisoned shellfish and becomes blind. Distressed by his inability to support the household, he turns violent and resentful, and even considers ending his own life to redeem his name. At the urging of unsympathetic relatives, Kayo seeks the assistance of captain Shimada Toya (Bando Mitsugoro), who uses his influence to help Shinnojo retain his income and rank. As the rumors begin to get louder, Shinnojo becomes increasingly troubled that he may be losing his wife and honor to another man...