Ran ★★★★½

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

Ran's brilliance lays in its exploration of perspective. You could put yourself in the shoes of each character, understand their motivations, and comprehend their tragedy. That's what makes the film unyieldingly heartbreaking, as its complex web of pride, revenge, honor, and love cause the fall of all of our characters. It's wonderful to see the technical mastery that Kurosawa utilizes here, and as a comparison to Seven Samurai it is enriching to watch the cinematic beauty and brutal effects of combat that he employees. Perhaps not reaching the same amount of depth and philosophical resonance as Seven Samurai, Ran still manages to hit on an emotional level as you wrestle with the seemingly deterministic domino-fall of the destruction of a family. It's almost funny to hear of the peasant village that ran away from Hidetora's retinue considering the subject matter of Seven Samurai, and the absence of the war's effect on the peasant population is sorely missing here. But in a film that barely has enough time for perhaps its most interesting character--Saburo's--journey, it's easy to merely get lost in the epic scale of the production and enjoy the ride.

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