The Samurai

The Samurai ★★★½

A striking, original and unique horror-thriller with a dark fantasy edge, in which Jakob, a uniformed policeman who essentially looks after a small town single-handedly, is trying to track down a wolf that's causing problems for the area. But instead of an animal, the "lone wolf" who appears to him is a man; specifically a cross-dressing gay man with a samurai sword and a personality disorder. As the night goes on, this nightdress-wearing psycho intensifies his spree of mayhem, escalating into mass murder but all the while trying to seduce the single and lonely (but as far as we're aware, straight) cop. It's a slow-paced film, allowing the numerous beautifully-lit and carefully-composed compositions to penetrate the viewer's eyes, to the extent that the strange storyline is almost a distraction from the deep, warm visuals. Cinematographer Martin Hanslmayr is definitely one to watch, though I'm not entirely convinced that director Till Kleinert has quite mastered the transition from short films to feature-length just yet. However, he does use his Brandenburg locations well; one confrontation on a canal lock is particularly stunning.