Yukinojo Henge, known in English as An Actor’s Revenge, can only be described as a kabuki film. Really, the film belies description, it is so unique and visually stylistic. Directed by Kon Ichikawa, this film was made as a celebration of the 300th screen role of the great Japanese actor Kazuo Hasegawa, and they decided to go all out in their celebration with flair.
I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen such a bizarre film. This one gleefully plays with the storytelling and visual tropes of cinema so freely it almost comes across as improvisational theater. It is easy to see how Tarantino was influenced by kabuki films like this one. The film is so stylish that it’s hard to follow at times, but it’s always interesting to watch from a visual standpoint. Colorful, vibrant, and eclectic, the film’s cinematography and production value are top-notch and effective.
Like I said, the film can be hard to follow at times, but don’t let such a thing distract you from such a uniquely sensory experience. I can see how this one ended up on the must see list; you may not enjoy what the film has to offer, but it is so unlike anything else on the list that it becomes required viewing. I for one highly enjoyed the spectacle, if not the plot, and if you go into the film knowing what you’ll get, you should end up enjoying it as well.
Arbitrary Rating: 7/10