HappyTreeSpirit’s review published on Letterboxd:
Ran is so ridiculously epic and has such mass appeal that it can be almost deemed a sin to miss this one. If you are an Akira Kurosawa fan then you probably have seen this already, maybe even rewatched it several times. If you are one whom has never seen any sort of film by Kurosawa then this may very well be the best place to start.
Partly adapted from King Lear, Ran has various qualities that resemble the best of westerns, war movies, and period pieces. That combination serves as the basis for what makes Ran so incredibly entertaining and highly artistic. It also has a sort of classical feel that acts as a homage to Shakespeare's work. Even the various scenes of great battles feels oddly intimate and all the too relateable.
By the ending credits we can really see by just how mighty and tall this movie stands even in today's standard of 'action'. Modern day blockbusters can definitely learn a thing or two from this film in terms of its epicness and emotional punch. In terms of having a strong desire to see older films on the big screen, this one probably ranks at the very top.
The rewards of watching this not only once but multiple times is also great. The film is full of metaphors, epic battles, engaging characters, excellent use of colors, and the list goes on. It is a feast for the eyes as it becomes prevalent that composition and cinematography are of high caliber.
Overall it has a sort of dark and pessimistic view on humanity but the theme of a father's love for his sons really make you feel for this character. Small moments like those are what makes this nearly perfect. Ran serves as as a major cinematic experience that definitely should not be missed. With it being a period film it feels like a thing of the past that comes to haunt us in the present and future. It serves as a tragic vision that has really helped it stand the test of time and maintain its relevancy. It is one of the best film to have emerge from the 80s and further proves that Akira Kurosawa is worthy of his slot in the list of greatest directors that have ever lived. It is a timeless classic. If you enjoyed his other film Throne of Blood (also adapted from Shakespeare) then you will definitely enjoy this too. In Ran it feels like a huge world and all the players and viewers are tiny and microscopic in comparison. Thus, it serves as a poignant and epic piece of art.