Set sometime in the late Muromachi period, Naomitsu Hatakeyama (Shun Oguri!!!!) is the second son of the distinguished Hatakeyama family. His lifelong friend and and love interest is Ako-hime (Yuki Shibamoto). When Ako-hime's father dies, Yoshimasa Ashikaga (Kenichi Hagiwara) elicits a decree that will forever change their fates.
Soon afterwards, Naomitsu is betrayed by his very own brother Nobutsuna Hatakeyama (Hiroyuki Ikeuchi), who plans to forcibly take Ako-hime for himself. Naomitsu loves Ako-hime so much that he is ready to give up his life and flee into the mountains with Ako-hime. While travelling through the mountains, Naoitsu soon faces another betrayal, this time from retainer Sakuramaru (Kei Tanaka), a man Naomitsu once saved from death and took care of like a brother.
Naomitsu Hatakeyama then comes back as Tajomaru ....
Shun Oguri did not disappoint in his roll as Naomitsu/Tajomaru. I have to say that this is the best movie he had been a part of so far. Naomitsu as a character was very well developed and believable. Love, pain, and outrage changes the character though out the movie. He always states that he only wanted Ako, and that being the heir or inheriting a title or gold didn't matter to him at all.
Nobutsuna is the older brother and the heir of the Hatakeyama family. The beginning of the movie portrays Nobutsuna as the weaker brother, Naomitsu losing to him in things on purpose and stating he could never win against his older brother.
Sakuramaru is a hard character to accept. Let's leave it at that to keep away from spoilers.
Ako grew up with the brothers and even when they were small preferred Naomitsu over the older brother Nobutsuna. Later in the movie both her parents die and she is supposed to marry Nobutsuna in order to give him her father's title and gold. I really loved to hate this character.
The story line is excellent; marked by betrayal, love, misunderstandings, hatred, forgiveness, confusion... the list goes on and on.
And one thing I cannot leave out is the band of bandits Naomitsu travels with while under the name Tajomaru: Saru, Doken, Taka, and the others MADE the movie.
So... go watch. While waiting on an english subbed DVD, download a copy at DLAZNMOVIES, link in the corner.