Steven Okazaki’s matter-of-fact documentary, narrated in matter-of-fact monotone by Keanu Reeves, displays a polite reticence toward is own tantalizing premise: that noted and prolific Japanese actor Toshiro Mifune had much in common with the samurai he so frequently portrayed. To wit: a man of great discipline and power, a strong, silent type willing to work insanely hard and take great risks, in part because of his fierce loyalty to his lord — in this case, director Akira Kurosawa. Together, they made Seven Samurai, Rashomon, Yojimbo, and many other landmark films, and we learn that Mifune risked live arrows for Kurosawa, but also that he would get drunk, drive by the master’s house, and shout, “Damn you!” (How’s that for a fruitful creative tension?) After they parted ways, both foundered, and Mifune wound up a ronin, a lordless wanderer who wound up in the deserts of television, playing an imitation of himself. Martin Scorsese shows up to opine that they may have used each other up artistically, but family members can only say that they’re “not sure what happened.” All we’re left with are hints and questions, plus workaday external observations from co-workers and relatives amid a thumbnail history of Japanese cinema. Also, a host of fantastic clips from their collaborations (the film works best as an appetite stimulant for richer cinematic fare). (2016) — Matthew Lickona
This movie is not currently in theaters.