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
Akira Kurosawa believed that Scotland and Japan in the Middle Ages shared social problems, and that these had lessons for the present day. Moreover, Macbeth could serve as a cautionary tale complementing Ikiru (1952). See more »
When the witch runs in the forest she can briefly be seen wearing sneakers. See more »
[Morning at Cobweb castle. Washizu, armed, dozes, seated]
[Washizu wakes with a start and looks around, bewildered. He strides into Lady Washizu's quarters, almost bumping into two frightened female attendants. He sees Lady Washizu kneeling, staring blankly out at nothing, nervously washing her hands in a bowl]
Lady Asaji Washizu:
It won't go away... The blood won't go away...
Lady Asaji Washizu:
I wash and wash... and still the blood remains...
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As much as I praise Mifune, it may well be Yamada who stands out in Kurosawa's version of Macbeth. Her Lady Macbeth is one of the most terrifying things I have ever seen, a forerunner to Sadako. Dressed in Noh make-up, slow moving like the world's most effective predator, unblinking, she is, without a doubt, the true lady Macbeth. She turns Mifune towards murder, and, although she is seen going mad at the end, we do not see her die. The tragedy of the tale is heightened by the fact that we are told at the start what will happen. Every shot Kurosawa composes is memorable. The arrow through the neck, the thread spinning witch in the forest, Mifune turning his back on his master, all are haunting and unforgettable. This film cannot be praised enough, and although it is not a horror movie, it puts all modern horror movies to shame with its deadly atmosphere. Great Quotes: Asaji. Every samurai longs to be the master of a castle'. 10 out of ten.
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