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In this adaptation of the Japanese film Rashomon, a young monk leaves town to seek his father's counsel after being disturbed by the murder trial testimony of the bandit Singh Khan, the wife of the deceased warlord, and a shaman who conjures up the warlord's spirit. Along the way, he encounters a poor man who testified at the trial, and the two take refuge in an abandoned burial tunnel during a storm. They are met by an old beggar who joins in their lively conversation about the trial. In vivid detail, each story is witnessed on screen as it's told from the bandit's, the wife's and the warlord's perspectives, all riddled with bias and personal agenda. In the end, the young monk is left to determine what meaning is of true consequence not only in this murder trial, but in choosing to continue on his monastic path.
Looking at the artwork for this film might lead many to believe it is an action/adventure/martial arts film from Thailand but it couldn't be any more different. "At the Gate of the Ghost" tells the story of a young Monk who is considering disrobing after witnessing a trail when a warlord is found murdered. When the Monk decides to leave to call upon his father he runs into a woodcutter who just happened to be the person that found the dead body of the warlord. After the two take cover from the rain in an old burial tunnel the stumble upon a old beggar. As the three strike up a conversion about what happened to the warlord and his wife each seems to have a different story to tell.
Like I stated earlier this is a much different film than one might expect, there is a bit of sword play in the film but it is only used when telling the story. This is more a murder mystery film and once it got going I was engaged and it held my interest all the way to the end as I waited to find out more. To talk too much about the story would only ruin the film for those waiting to see it so I am not going to go into any more details here.
Production wise the film looks great, from the costumes to the sets everything about the film looks fantastic. Acting wise the cast did a terrific job, I can imagine it was both challenging and fun to play the same character but in a different perspective. "At the Gate of the Ghost" was a much different film than I was expecting but after it got started I was glad that it was, I was captivated and sucked right into the story right from the start and the mystery of how the warlord was killed kept me on the edge the entire time. I love a good martial arts film as much as the next guy but I was delighted to have seen this film knowing that it was something completely different. This is a terrific film filled with mystery and suspense that I highly recommend checking out. Available on DVD and Blu-ray, both come with Special Features that include:
Behind The Scenes
Thai and English Languages with English and Spanish Subtitles
I believe that this will be a sleeper hit on home video due to strong word of mouth so if you get the chance to check it out do so.
Released by Magnolia Home Entertainment
**** Out Of *****