Known for his easy knack for wry satire, director Mansaku Itami here presents an unusual antiheroic figure in what many consider his best work: a character study of a poor country samurai who survives during rebellious times without the usual derring-do. Reworking the hidebound conventions of period dramas, Itami’s allegorical film, which even questions the sacred ritual of seppuku, shows a rather ordinary samurai who bands together with others to overcome a dull-witted lord.