Ran ★★★★★

Kids: who'd have em?

Kurosawa's colourful adaptation of King Lear is a tale of power, retribution, madness and betrayal fusing Shakespearian text with 16th century Sengoku era Japan. It is a dense examination of power and the human condition played by a cast of kings, pawns and everything in between. What took Game Of Thrones 70 hours, Ran does in under 3.

Despite his losses even Vito Corleone rightly knew that the succession of absolute power must be succeeded by one. Instead Ichimonji's romantically split his kingdom to three sons perhaps forgetting that he acquired it through decades of merciless brutality. The sons soon fracture, fuelled by jealousy and paranoia, influenced by their ambitious generals and the scheming vengeance of a woman scorned. For Ichimonji, abandoned by two sons, he slowly enters the wilderness, accompanied by a loyal vassal and jester, it becomes a plain of isolation, guilt and insanity.

Financially backed with big budget set and costume designs it signalled a faith in 75 year old Kurosawa that led to his brief cinematic revival. It's recreation of warrior filled battle scenes like those of a Ukiyo-e painting filmed across the lush expanse of Mount Aso are a vision of the "epic" in its purest form.

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