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When most directors get older, their work starts to lag. Not Kurosawa. The man was seventy-five when Ran was released. Some people have remarked that this was the kind of film that would have failed disastrously had Kurosawa attempted to make it early in his career. Seeing the final results prove they were right.
Kurosawa varied from heartfelt (Ikiru), gripping (High and Low) and stunning (Seven Samurai, Rashomon). Ran fits into all three. Not one moment feels wasted in its 160-minute running time. You can't claim that with most films.
There's a stunning turn of events as Ran wears on. Shortly after his trust towards his sons is betrayed, Lord Hidetora (Tatsuya Nakadai) goes through a startling transition. He becomes delusional. His skin becomes as white as his hair. He literally becomes a ghost of his former self.
Ran gets up there with Lawrence of Arabia as epic filmmaking at its finest. Every small detail works wonders in the long run. It's proof that Kurosawa most definitely knew what he was doing during the duration of his career.
My Rating: *****