Ran ★★★★½

Week 3 of the Letterboxd Season Challenge 2015-16

Pause Akira Kurosawa's Ran at any given point, and chances are pretty good that you'll have yourself a still you could frame and hang on your wall. It's easily one of the most visually stunning films I've ever seen. The fields, the hills, the castles, the enormously large-scale production with huge, visceral battle scenes, it's not unlike Seven Samurai in that sense, except in absolutely beautiful color, most notably red and green.

Kurosawa truly was a master of cinema, and it shows in his jidaigeki adaptation of Shakespeare's King Lear. Originally based on Kurosawa regular Toshiro Mifune, the main character of elderly warlord Hidetori Ichimonji is played by the equally amazing Tatsuya Nakadai. Overall, the acting is fantastic in this, Mieko Harada being another standout as antagonist Lady Kaede.

I was a bit taken aback by just how bloody and violent this is. It's the first Kurosawa film I've seen in colors, and he sure didn't spare the fake blood. Not only is it bloody, heads and limbs aren't safe either. It's certainly affective, and while the battle scenes are going on it's practically impossible to take one's eyes off the screen.

If I have any minor criticism at all it is that I could've been more emotionally invested in the story and characters. There were so much going on, and quite a few warlords, armies and castles to keep track of, and while I never felt like I did lose track of the story, I guess you could say that I had to concentrate on the story instead of truly losing myself in it. That said, the Shakespearean ending did have the desired effect on me.

Ran is my 11th Kurosawa film, and comfortably takes a top 3 spot, only behind Rashomon and Seven Samurai. Visually, it might just be his best, if not the best ever made. I loved it, and even the lengthy runtime of over two and a half hours felt like it flew by.

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