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.
Japanese warlord Hidetori Ichimonji decides the time has come to retire and divide his fiefdom among his three sons. His eldest and middle sons - Taro and Jiro - agree with his decision and promise to support him for his remaining days. The youngest son Saburo disagrees with all of them arguing that there is little likelihood the three brothers will remain united. Insulted by his son's brashness, the warlord banishes Saburo. As the warlord begins his retirement, he quickly realizes that his two eldest sons selfish and have no intention of keeping their promises. It leads to war and only banished Saburo can possibly save him. Written by
Akira Kurosawa began writing the film 10 years before its release and said that it wasn't originally meant to be based on Shakespeare's "King Lear" but came to that during the writing process. See more »
During the battle at the third castle, there is a sequence where Hidetora emerges from the castle at the top of a flight of stairs and confronts enemy soldiers ascending the stairs. When he retreats, his bodyguards suddenly appear and retreat with him, even though they were not present moments earlier. See more »
Ran is probably cinema's greatest rendition of a Shakespearean Epic, ironically coming from an oriental film-maker. Adapted by Kurosawa from Shakespeare's King Lear, Ran undoubtedly features amongst the best works of the master auteur. It captures with sheer vividness and surreal resplendence, the true essence of human struggle for survival, highlighting the cruelties associated with life. Ran is strictly indicative of the sole consistency of life i.e. change, an attribute that not only makes the humans vulnerable but also gives them the hope to rise after a fall.
The story focuses on a senile warlord, who owing to his senescence is rapidly losing his strength and his ferocious grandeur that he had earned through years of relentless savagery and ruthless slaughter, ergo he renounces to his three sons, hoping them to establish a sort of a triumvirate with the eldest son having a slight edge. His two elder sons accept the proposal with rapturous glee, but his youngest son seems bemused and questions the wits of the patriarch for taking the untimely decision. Though arrantly annoyed by his son's audacious defiance, he tries to console him, only to find him inconsolable. Deeply hurt by his son's impertinence and censure, he reluctantly banishes him and enthrones the two elder sons. The rest is rather worth a watch than a read, for there is nothing that can better the sumptuous elegance of Ran.
The brilliantly captured scenes are breathtaking to say the least, especially the war scene that depicts fate casting the final blow to the ruthless reign of the warlord. The brutality and the bloodshed depicted in the very scene can make even a cold-blooded appear jittery. Ran portrays the poetic justice in such a relentless and abominable fashion that one can't help but sympathize with the narcissistic warlord, who spent his life arrogating and annihilating the innocent souls. The plaintive score gives the movie a much desired tone, a mood that not only supports its melancholic backdrop, but also immensely adds to its poignant beauty. The final scene featuring the blind boy, deeply clutched by his haplessness and gross solitude, though doesn't feature an utterance of even a single syllable, the playback of the mystical flute makes the scene haunting as well as mesmerising and worth a thousand words. Ran is a classic example of Kurosawa's brilliance and perhaps a consummation of his apotheosis.
A must watch for eclectic viewers and admirers of pristine cinema. Highly recommended: 10/10.
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