A story of greed, a lust for power, and ultimate revenge. The Great Lord Hidetora Ichimonji has decided to step aside to make room for the younger blood of his three sons, Taro, Jiro, and Saburo, the Lord's only wish now being to live out his years as an honored guest in the castle of each of his sons in turn. While the older two sons flatter their father, the youngest son attempts to warn him of the folly of expecting the three sons to remain united; enraged at the younger son's attempt to point out the danger, the father banishes him. True to the younger son's warning, however, the oldest Son soon conspires with the second son to strip The Great Lord of everything, even his title. Written by
Akira Kurosawa referred to his previous film, Kagemusha (1980), as a "dress rehearsal" for this film. He spent ten years storyboarding every shot in the film as paintings. The resulting collection of images was published with the screenplay. 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 »
Kurosawa, while a great director, isn't somebody whose films I blindly endorse.
However, Ran takes the cake. It easily makes my personal top five films any time I think about it.
The imagery is absolutely stunning, and the dialogue is quite clever. The battle scenes are suitably horrific, and the humor (and yes, there is humor) is subtle enough not to get in the way.
All told, one of the greatest films it's been my privilege to see. I watched it to get the nightmare that was Cold Mountain out of my head, as proof that long movies can actually be epic, as opposed to boring, trite, and predictable.
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