It's understandable that director Kei Kumai didn't title this film The Best Little Whorehouse Near Tokyo, but the alternative does little to spice up this tale about a naive geisha (Nagiko Tohno) who has the bad habit of falling for the wrong samurai. Kumai works overtime to recall the style of the late, great Akira Kurosawa (Rashômon, Ran)--who wrote the screenplay--but he doesn't achieve greatness.
The motions are dull, slow-moving and weighted down by one too many clichéd gestures. However, those who delight in small-scale virtues may find their interest held by the meticulous detail that Kumai lavishes on various Japanese rituals--everything from pouring tea to holding swords. Everyone else, however, need not check in.
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