Film Review – Dora-Heita
Dora-Heita is a traditional Japanese film about a new magistrate (basically a mayor) in a small town. The magistrate has begun to spread rumors about himself in order to make people think he’s lecherous and mean and nasty. He’s only done this to make his life easier since the people aren’t likely to accept him with open arms anyway. He’s been appointed to do some major clean-up in a seedy part of town. The other magistrates aren’t a fan of cleaning it up since it’s bringing in money (mainly illegally).
The new magistrate infiltrates the seedy area by dressing as a woman and then befriends some of the locals after he unmasks and buys them a barrel of sake. He gets in good with the low-brow people. This is all part of his plan, which unfolds throughout the movie. He goes to each of the three bosses in the seedy part of town and plays to their strengths.
The magistrate goes to the boss in charge of whoring and scores with a bunch of his ladies and they drink together and seal some deal to be brothers. He then goes to the boss in charge of gambling and bring s a boatload of cash. They also seal some sort of deal. The third boss is doing everything in his power not to be duped. Meanwhile, the village council has to meet because the Magistrate is strictly forbidden to enter the seedy part of town. They are trying to vote him out since he’s making trouble for all of the sneaky deals they have been running for years. They’ve all taken “unwanted” bribes and it’s clear their bosses know about it – which is why he appointed Dora-Heita as magistrate.
Dora-Heita’s wife has come to retrieve him and she’s a REAL tenacious woman. Causing trouble throughout town trying to retrieve him. Eventually, the third boss invite Dora-Heita to a banquet at his house. Clearly, it’s a trap, but he goes regardless. I won’t spoil the ending, but there’s a super sweet fight at the boss’ palace.
The movie is pretty solidly put together. Well acted and well fought. There is lots of action and lots of sword fighting. This film is one of the better samurai films I’ve seen. Traditional with a hint of modern film making. It’s got a couple of interesting plot twists without being hokey, so it wraps up nicely. It’s a good samurai film.
(3 out of 5 fus)