The Samurai ★★★★

I feel almost like Der Samurai is still too fresh in my mind for me to adequately review it. Thoughts are still pinging all around my brain about it. The "plot" is about a shy policeman in some nowhere German village whose peace is threatened by the arrival of a cross-dressing maniac with a samurai sword, intent on rampage. It's all allegorical and, at times, the metaphor (for coming out) is a little over-obvious. I cut it some slack because it's a young director's first feature and it's less about what he has to say and more about the bold, original voice with which he says it but still, the further I get from it, the more I realise how coherently presented the themes are. There are moments of tremendous beauty in the film (helped by stunning photography/lighting and a haunting Badalamenti style score) that mix with shocking violence. Kleinert's Japanese influence (notably Miike) is evident but there's something perversely lovely about tranposing that to rural Germany. The film has a sense of place, a pair of cracking, uninhibited lead performances and it all really sticks in your mind. An eerie, unsettling experience that's moving and unique. I can't wait to see what Till Kleinert does next. It feels like this - as excellent as it is - might be a test run for something bigger and better.

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