In Medieval Japan, an elderly warlord retires, handing over his empire to his three sons. However, he vastly underestimates how the new-found power will corrupt them and cause them to turn on each other...and him.
After securing a major victory on the battlefield, Taketoti Washizu and one of his commanders, Yoshiaki Miki, find themselves lost in the maze-like Spider's Web forest. They come across a spirit-like seer who tells them of their future: both have been promoted because of their victory that day; Washizu will someday be the Great Lord of the Spider's Web castle while Miki's son will someday rule as Great Lord as well. When they arrive at the castle, they learn that the first part of the prophecy is correct. Washizu has no desire to become Great Lord but his ambitious wife urges him to reconsider. When the current Great Lord makes a surprise visit to his garrison outpost, Washizu is again promoted to commander of his vanguard but his wife reminds him of the danger that comes with the position. As pressure mounts, Wahizu takes action leading to its inevitable conclusion. Written by
Kurosawa's masterful retelling of Shakespeare's Macbeth
Akira Kurosawa would end up using Shakespearean influence on two of his films. Throne of Blood is Kurosawa's adaptation of Shakespeare's play, Macbeth, but in a feudal Japanese setting.
The film begins with Taketoki Washizu (Toshiro Mifune) and Yoshaki Miki (Minoru Chiaki) winning a fierce battle for their lord. Afterwards, they are invited to the lord's castle. On their way there, they come across a spirit in the forest. the spirit tells Washizu that he will soon become in command of a castle but that he will not rule long, and Yoshaki's son will soon takeover. Washizu is soon convinced that these predictions will come true, and becomes consumed with greed and evil in order to make sure that they do indeed come true.
In this film Kurosawa uses a more still and quiet filming style than was used in his previous films (with the exception of Ikiru). A style that he continued to use for the rest of his career. The Shakespearean influence is obviously there, not only in story, but the film itself has a very theatre-esque feeling to it.
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