in about 100 words or less
Japan/France 160m, Colour
Director: Akira Kurosawa; Cast: Tatsuya Nakadai, Akira Terao, Jinpachi Nezu, Daisuke Ryû, Mieko Harada, Yoshiko Miyazaki, Hisashi Igawa
Ran is a dramatic tale of betrayal, revenge and the madness of humanity. As a combination of Samurai legend and Shakespearian tale, Kurosawa had a wealth of inspiration from which to draw. Appointed with extravagant production qualities and beautiful costuming, Ran is a visually stunning film. Unfortunately, it lacks the deeply emotional performances which one comes to expect from Kurosawa’s impressive and highly personal body of work. Despite the film’s terrific potential and fascinating plot, which pits three sons against one another and their father, this often-called “magnum opus” suffers from incredibly slow pacing and a severe under exploration of character motivations, which the film’s lengthy running time could easily have afforded to fill-in (Klaus Ming August 2011).