Friday, April 13, 2012


Akira Kurosawa is without a doubt one of the masters of cinema. His films could be treated as art, both visually and from a storytelling aspect. (No, Univarn didn't hack this site...or did he?)

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: *****


  1. I have a funny story about the first time I saw RAN. The DVD cover for some reason misinformed me that the movie was 220 minutes long. When its 160 minutes were over, I was so annoyed because I wanted the film to just keep going. It really is perfect and is arguably Kurosawa's best, certainly the greatest film of his late career anyway.

  2. I noticed the film was recently added onto Netflix Instant, which has me excited.

    Didn't know he was 75 when he made this sweeping epic.

    I think it's about time I get into his films.

  3. If you haven't seen it, give Throne of Blood(1957) a go. Its Macbeth adapted to Samurai Japan. But these two movies should make a great double feature. I confuse them a lot myself because there are many similar elements in both.

  4. I had such high expectations going into my first viewing that I'm not sure even my profound love for most things Kurosawa could have sustained it. I won't say the film lived up to them, but I will say it came strikingly close which is better than about 99.9% of movies in the existence could do. Though on some level I kind of have a love-hate relationship with this movie. I think it's fantastic, and fully encompassing of all Kurosawa's talent. At the same time, however, I feel it's greatness well overshadows it's predecessor, Kagemusha. As so many moviegoers look down on that film as nothing more than a trial run for this one. However I think that Kagemusha is near the upper echelon of the Kurosawa catalog, along with this film (maybe not equal in quality but nowhere near the divide it has been made out to be).


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