Thursday 30 December 2010

Ran [1985]

Ran, Japanese maestro Akira Kurosawa’s interpretation of Shakespeare’s King Lear, nearly destroyed him as a filmmaker. But history has been kind to him, and Ran has consistently ranked as one of his greatest masterpieces, alongside the likes of Rashomon, Seven Samurai and Yojimbo. Ran is an epic with brutal power, a movie that overwhelms with its stunning visual beauty as it does with its display of such basic instincts as honour, betrayal, vengeance, and emotional anarchy. Though a samurai movie, its theme and story are both universal and relevant for all times. When an ageing samurai lord bequeaths his throne to his eldest son, his seemingly innocuous decision sparks a chain of events that spreads like a wildfire among his sons, and destroys everyone in the process – emotionally and physically. His eldest son’s daughter, a scheming and calculating lady, adds fuel to fire by planting seeds of distrust and lust for power. The film’s scope is therefore as much to do with one of sight and sound, as it is to do with portraying, in all its nuances, emotional turbulence. The films boasts of a towering central performance by Tatsuya Nakadai who, as the elderly warlord and a great warrior of his time, realizes only too late the damages caused by a decision that was heavily opposed by his straight-talking youngest son. The movie is drenched in pessimism and portrays a world that goes astray at the slightest opportunity, and this breathtaking spectacle has as company another stunning Shakespeare adaptation of Kurosawa, Throne of Blood.

Director: Akira Kurosawa
Genre: Drama/Epic/Family Drama/Action/Samurai Film
Language: Japanese
Country: Japan

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