First Look: Samurai Assassin Film 'Bunraku'

Bunraku image gallery

There are films that we hear a lot about, from their announcement right up until their release (and often beyond). And then there are films you hear little-to-nothing about until the date of their first major showing draws near.

An example of the latter is Bunraku, an upcoming fantasy/action film from writer/director Guy Moshe. The film merges the stylings of the East and the West, utilizing the likes of samurai and assassins. It's set to premiere at this year's Toronto International Film Festival.

If you find the title strange, then wait until you a get a load of the diverse cast: Josh Hartnett, Woody Harrelson, Ron Perlman and Demi Moore (amongst others). That cast alone is worth the price of admission!

Today we have our first look at Bunraku via some images from the official TIFF website. They are pretty stunning and definitely pique my interest. But before we get to the images, here's the official synopsis for the movie to clue you in:

In a world with no guns, a mysterious drifter (Josh Hartnett), a young samurai and a bartender (Woody Harrelson) plot revenge against a ruthless leader (Ron Perlman) and his army of thugs, headed by nine diverse and deadly assassins. This visually stunning film is filled with uniquely choreographed action sequences of a new style that melds east with west and old school with new.

Now check out the gallery of striking Bunraku images:

[gallery exclude=”74795” columns="2"]

I don't know about you, but I very much like the look and sound of this film. I'm all for twisting and contorting genres, merging them with one another to create something unique. In Bunraku's case, it's "east meets west and old school meets new." Admittedly, this isn't the first film to do this and quite recently there have been examples such as The Good, The Bad, The Weird and Sukiyaki Western Django.

But where those two took the Eastern style and mixed it literally with Westerns (cowboys and six shooters etc.), Bunraku takes samurais and such from the East and simply mixes those tropes with a more general western style.

Added to the weirdly gorgeous visuals and the cool plot, we also have a killer cast to enjoy in their respective roles. Hartnett is a solid, often under-appreciated leading man; Woody Harrelson seems to be able to do no wrong (even in bad movies he's fun); Demi Moore is very watchable when she picks the right roles (in more ways than one, if you know what I'm saying :-P ); and if you need to know why Ron Perlman is awesome then are you sure you're reading the right website?

If Bunraku is received well at TIFF this year, I imagine it won't be long before it's picked up by a distributor and given a general release. It may end up being another one of those films that only plays to a niche audience (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World being a very recent example) but that certainly won't stop me from seeing it.

Bunraku will premiere at TIFF as part of the festival's "Midnight Madness" program.

Source: Official TIFF website

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