This is a touching and heartfelt glimpse into the twilight age of the Samurai through the story of one Samurais struggles to survive through poverty and loyalty to his masters. Quite apart from the modern propensity for fast cuts, fast action and fast story this beautiful movie is a quietly paced, thoughtful study. The last action scene, when it comes, is intense and hints at the desperation and struggle to survive in the end. This film is not about the violence, however, and develops strong and sympathetic characters. The young daughters are adorable, and the love of family is tangible. The poverty and struggles are very subtly hinted at through his coworkers and relatives interaction with him, and through heart wrenching scenes by the river. This is a brilliant and beautifully filmed human character study and is one of my favourite movies.