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Gate of Hell Blu-ray Review

Gate of Hell Blu-ray

“Gate of Hell” is filled with rich characters and themes.

Set during and after the Heiji Rebellion (which saw the Minamoto clan trying and failing to gain power), “Gate of Hell” revolves around a Taira warrior (Morito) who was instrumental in stopping the Minamoto uprising. Kiyomori, the Taira clan leader, graciously grants Morito a wish as payment for his accomplishments, but his wish winds up being denied. You see, Morito has his eyes set on a woman named Kesa (who is a palace servant), but she is already married to a guard named Wataru. Even though he is shaming and embarrassing himself to those around him, Morito tries to win Kesa regardless. Will he win Kesa’s heart? Will he challenge or kill Wataru to get her? Will this end in tragedy for all involved? You’ll have to see for yourself.

Some viewers may be deterred by the slow pace and lack of story, but if you stick with the film, you’ll find yourself glued to the screen by the time the intense and emotional ending comes around. There isn’t a moment of screen time that is wasted in “Gate of Hell” as every scene adds depth to the characters and especially the themes. ‘Hell’ is very much a story of shame, disgrace, heartbreak, fidelity, sacrifice, desire, blinding anger, rejection, honor, tradition, and most of all, love. However, this love story is far from being sugar coated. This is a very dark and tragic tale and there’s a real sense of dread throughout the entire story as Morito’s behavior becomes increasingly unstable. It’s clear that Kesa and Wataru are in love and nothing will change that, but Morito refuses to accept the truth and is blinded by his feelings for Kesa. I could go into more detail about what happens and how Morito loses it even more, but why spoil the surprise? See it for yourself.

Video/Audio:

Presented in 1.37:1 1080p, “Gate of Hell” has been digitally remastered from a 2K restoration. So, how does it look? The print is flat-out beautiful and colorful. The costumes and sets are especially noteworthy here. If I gave out grades, this would easily get 5 stars from me.

The Japanese Uncompressed Mono track sounds like a clean Mono track. I wish it had more depth, but it’s still satisfactory nonetheless.

The only extra is a fold out booklet featuring an essay by Stephen Prince.

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April 19, 2013 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | ,

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