Larry’s review published on Letterboxd:
I've never seen so much blood come out of one woman's neck.
And I've never seen a more perfect adaptation of the Shakespeare story "King Lear." In fact I think this was the best Shakespeare adaptation I've seen period.
Ran seemed to be a lot of firsts for me. Shamefully, it just so happened to be my first FULL Akira Kurosawa film. (I had only seen bits and pieces of Seven Samurai) better late than never right?
"King Lear" was written about 400 years ago. This means that people have had 400 years to dissect it and pick apart what it means. I'm not going to shove 400 years of redundancy down your throat about what the story means. Just know that there are themes of chaos, grief, guilt, loss, love, and war. I'm going to instead talk about what Kurosawa did to the tale.
The famous Japanese director brought this bleak and melancholy tragedy to color in a magnificent picturesque fashion. Every single scene is an ocular feast that also adds a new layer onto the twisting narrative of a Warlord being driven sick with guilt as his sons tear his kingdom apart. I read "King Lear" in college and it was not a fun story. Instead, Ran is an immensely entertaining tale thanks to the talented director. Kurosawa shows us the beauty of the rolling hills and lush fields of feudal Japan juxtaposed against the mechanical harshness of thousands of samurai stomping off to war. The war scenes are tragic and beautiful in their own weird way. The Award Winning costume design and color palette is most likely behind this. It's hard to forget what people are fighting for when its so pretty to look at.
I remember fondly the breathtaking cinematography from the parts I saw of Seven Samurai not too long ago. If this is a trend he continues through all his films, I imagine I'll blaze my way through his filmography in no time.
It won't take me so long this time.
Damn me for being so cheap and holding off on getting the Seven Samurai Criterion release!