The Human Condition III: A Soldier's Prayer ★★★★★

What a fantastic conclusion. This may be my favorite of the trilogy. It really brings everything together and makes you realize the purpose of this nearly ten hour journey. We started out the trilogy following a meek pacifist trying to better the world, but by the beginning of this film he's a cold, grizzled soldier who kills to survive. Despite his continuing resolve to look out for others, by the end his body, mind, and spirit have been completely crushed by the trials of war.

Watching the transformation of the character is what makes the journey worth it. The final scene only holds so much weight because of the preceding 9 hours of events. The actor, Tatsyua Nakadai, is completely seamless in the role. His performance is one for the ages. This movie was shot over three years, mostly in chronological order. As a result, we get to see this actor physically change and evolve with his character, and it makes the journey that much more powerful.

We also see an evolution from director Kobayashi in this third installment. This is the most gorgeous movie of the trilogy, which is a feat considering how good the other films looked. He perfects and capitalizes on camera techniques previously seen in the other installments to make one of the best looking movies, probably ever.

This is one of those finales that makes the whole experience stick with you. And what an experience this has been.

Randall liked this review