Ran ★★★★★

Fourth Watch
Kurosawa ranked: 1 of 18

Rarely does a master filmmaker create something so timeless and epic this late into his or her life. Kurosawa would actually draw out every scene, by hand, and illustrate a lot of his work himself. He continued to do so late into his life even after losing most of his eyesight.

By the time Ran was made, Kurosawa was mostly blind.

Yet, this is one of the most colorful pictures ever made. Not just that the colors are visually stunning, it's how the colors and costumes are applied. The special features for Ran mention how Kurosawa was very meticulous about costume design, often having many costumes made by hand. For Ran, it took 2 years to craft the wardrobe. The attention to detail is amazing.

Every scene in Ran is beautiful. If you pause it at any point, you'll have a beautiful horizon shot of characters in conversation or in battle. Kurosawa harkens back to his John Ford influences here, and it really pays off in the way horses, motion, and landscapes are filmed in a wide screen shots.

For a Shakespearean adaptation, of which this is Kurosawa's third, it is practically flawless. Being able to take a work that was written in a different language hundreds of years ago and make it relevant for an international audience in a Japanese context is not easy.

I'd like to close by mentioning that Mieko Harada who plays Lady Kaede is a PHENOM of a performer. The first moment she enters the stage, she is someone to be wary of. She is a character filled with anguish, revenge, and cunning and in the end, she gets everything she wanted. A superlative acting performance, and a memorable character.

Ran is timeless. It is an amazing feat. It's flawless.

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