|Formats:||12 DVD, 15 Blu-ray|
|Starring:||Jinpachi Nezu, Daisuke Ryu, Yoshiko Miyazaki, Tatsuya Nakadai, Akira Terao, Mieko Harada|
|Genres:||Action/Adventure, Drama, World Cinema|
|Collections:||100 Swords and Sandals Films, Awesome Asian Films, Clash!, IMDb Highest Rated, Oscar Winners, Shakespeare Adaptations, Swashbuckling, Swords|
|Run time:||2 hours 35 minutes|
|Rental release:||03 May 2004|
Most helpful review
Classic Last Shout for KurosawaBy GraftheGreatest (15 reviews) from Harrow , 19 Sep 2004
[Highly rated reviewer]Ran is Akira Kurosawa's 1985 epic adaptation of Shakespeare's King Lear. Like Lear, Ran is about a king's (in
this case ageing Japanese Lord Hidetora, played by Tatuya Nakadai) arrogance & his eventual downfall due to
Kurosawa was himself 75 when he made Ran & was perceived as a great director on the decline. The auteur of such
classics as 'The Seven Samurai', 'Rashomon' & 'Hidden Fortress' was again to prove his ditractors wrong with
this classic, sweeping samurai masterpiece. It is said Kurosawa saw something of himself in Lear, or at least
Given an R rating, his goriest movie was a critical & commercial success, proving his fear's unfounded. Even
more hard to believe was this acheivement, given he was almost blind.
Lord Hidetora, decides to divide his land between his 3 sonsToro (Akira Terao), Jiro (Jinpachi Nezu) & Saburo
(Daisuke Ryu), with the elder receiving the greater portion. Saburo sees the stupidity & folly of his father's
decision & is banished for saying so. Hidetora is then rebuffed by the other, corrupt & evil sons. A battle
ensues when Hidetora, residing at Saburo's deserted castle is attacked by the combined armies of Taro & Jiro,
who have now through their actions divorced themselves as his children. Forced to flee & wander the hills with
only his jester Kyoami (an actor merely referenced as Peter!) & faithful old assistant Tango (Masayuki Yui) he
slowly goes mad.
First Taro is killed in battle due to the machinations of Lady Kaede (Mieko Harada), seeking vengeance on
Hidetora's entire family for stealing her birthright. She then plots to marry her dead husband's brother, Jiro.
She seduces, threatens & eventually kills Jiro & finally inherits her family's castle. But even at this point
the story is not over. Saburo, the good son is kiled in battle & then Lady Kaede is murdered for her plotting
(again, another gory scene). Chaos, the direct translation of the film title is indeed what has happened as
almost all the main characters die, including Hidetora.
I liked this movie alot. The battle scenes serve their purpose but are not allowed to dominate or compensate
for good plotting & character development (did someone mention the over-hyped Tarantino?). This is a case of a
well-crafted stylised movie BUT not one of style over substance.
Kurosawa sticks to the main themes of Lear; blindness, nothingness, treachery, madness & foolishness without
the movie feeling bound by them. The last shout of a truly great director.
The dvd features were non-existent but for such a great movie this is more than forgiveable.
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A lengthy yet awesome rideBy brianw4815 (122 reviews) from United Kingdom , 24 Feb 2011First thing I have to say is how amazing the lead actor playing 'Hidetora' (the character who is the equivalent of King Lear in Shakespeare's classic) was. Just incredible. His descent into madness was totally believable and sad in many ways. Easily the best performance of the character I have ever seen! I think the film was spoiled for me slightly as I knew the fundamental plot points (having read Lear and seen a few British adaptations). Still, it was an incredibly interesting experience seeing it play out in feudal Japan - and that's not to say the film is identical to the original script - far, far from it. Ran is also filled with gorgeous visual shots and some stunning colour contrasts that are just awesome to watch. Having seen Yojimbo and Rashomon prior I feel like Ran is my least favourite of the three, but that isn't to say it wasn't awesome. Like I said, I feel that knowing (mostly) how it would all play out was somewhat detrimental to my viewing. Still, the differences in here kept my hooked and I would definitely recommend this film!
Another Kurosawa masterpieceBy yamimami from West London , 16 Dec 2010Incredible version of King Lear. Even without my favourite actor Toshiro Mifune, all the actors were excellent, particularly Hidetora and his youngest son. I also like the samurai who supported them, forgot the character's name.
It also allows non-Japanese to gain insight on Japan's ancient samurai culture/customs, as roles are reversed & motivations are also 'translated' into the Japanese version. Good to read Shogun before you watch this.
Fascinating and BeautifulBy OldTom (49 reviews) from Berkhamsted , 26 Nov 2010..but not a masterpiece. This is an excellent film, and well worth watching. It just that it suffers by comparison with King Lear, upon which it is based and (more pertinently) with Rashomon: Kurosawas true masterpiece.
Comparison with King Lear, is unfair, as this is a film inspired by the Shakespeare play, rather than being a version of it set in feudal Japan. However it does help if you know the play, as there are many near quotations from it (as when the old ruler dies), and many references to it, which otherwise wouldnt make much sense.
Comparison with Rashomon is probably no more fair than comparison with Shakespeare, but is more revealing. The earlier film is in black and white, has a very small cast and is almost claustrophobic in its tightly-focussed action With these limited means Kurosawa achieves profound effects. With Ran almost the complete opposite is true. The camera sweeps magnificently over stunning landscapes and vast polychromatic battles with a cast of thousands. It is all beautifully done, but the human story is sometimes swamped by all this magnificence.
Many of the themes of King Lear appear here, but Kurosawa adds more. So we also have themes of vengeance and family vendetta. This tends to complicate the plot, and causes the film to chop from one story-line to another. So the film ends with the conclusion of a minor story line, not with the death of the old ruler.
Ran isnt another King Lear, or even another Rashomon, but it is still an excellent film, and well watching - more than once.
A magnificent Japanese retelling of an English classic!By a customer from Orpington , 28 Oct 2010
THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS Show review anywayHideRan is an epic retelling of King Lear, dark and grim, vicious and violent, very faithful to the original Shakespearian play. But with a mix of Kurosawa's kooky humour the struggle that the father goes through when he passes away, but in this one instead of three daughters, he has three sons. The thing that his English counterpart wanted! For the most part it's a coherent story but in the middle it goes into a crazed haze and confusion which I suppose is symbolism of what is going through the king's mind. And another thing I find interesting about the story is the 'fool' is actually very clever. I guess that is because he is able to say things that normally would get your head chopped off! And get away with making light of things that would normally get you in trouble. If you're a fan of Shakespeare and if you're into Akira Kurosawa you should enjoy this. I enjoyed this film, but there were still some things I don't understand about it. So it's a film you'll need to see a few times until you totally understand it. If you're not studying it! Two thumbs up, Shakespeare with samurais, what could be better?!
Tour de force, a wonderful film.By a customer from Ludlow , 27 Jul 2010This is a wonderful film, Kurosawa's epic version of the King Lear theme. And it has everything - loyalty, duplicity, warriors, sex, gore, hope and despair. BIG panoramic treatment means however that it does need to be seen on the BIG screen to really appreciate it.