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
Directors don't come much better than Kurosawa, writers don't come much
better than Shakespeare, and movies don't come much better than this
excellent combination of the two. Add Mifune's acting, plus a good
supporting cast (including a really good performance by Isuzu Yamada), and
you have a top-quality, classic film. In retelling the story of "Macbeth"
with characters from medieval Japan, Kurosawa does honor to the original and
creates a fine achievement in its own right.
Much of the time, when Shakespeare plots are transferred to different
settings, what results is only a shadow of the original, because too many
directors have only a limited grasp of what Shakespeare's deep masterpieces
are all about. That is not at all the case here - Kurosawa shows a great
appreciation for the themes and potential of the Macbeth story, and adds
plenty of masterful touches of his own, creating a distinctive, memorable
atmosphere and characters that come to life in their own right in addition
to serving as worthy parallels to the Macbeth characters. There are many
fine details that enhance both the medieval Japanese setting and also the
important themes of the story itself.
Whether you like Shakespeare, Kurosawa, or both, "Throne of Blood" is an
excellent movie that should not disappoint.
24 of 28 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?