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Ran December 6, 2006

Posted by Shujath in Japanese, Movies, Reviews.
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With the disctinction of being the most expensive Japanese film ever made, Akira Kurosawa’s Ran is an adaptation of the Shakesperean tragedy King Lear. I never knew what King Lear was about but Ran impressed me with its really strong plot.

An old tyrant king Hidetora Ichimonji (Tatsuya Nakadai) has three sons; he makes the eldest son Taro the heir to the kingdom. The second son looks happy with it but the youngest son Saburo rebels questioning his father’s decision. He is banished immediately. But Saburo’s misgivings start coming true as Hidetora is slowly sidelined and disowned by his other two sons. In fact he is on the verge of being assassinated but he is able to escape and subsequently goes crazy. He now lives with his trusted lieutenants which include the official court jester. The main plot from here is about Hidetora reuniting with Saburo but there are lot of subthreads involving different characters.

To be frank, the acting looked very campy but I guess it would not be appropriate to say that because this is the first Japanese movie I’ve seen and on that it is a period piece. So, if people consider this to be a masterpiece they probably are right. Still, I found the court jester character very nice. Another plus is the visuals which look quite grand. The use of a minimal background score was somewhat unusual.

But as I said before the winner┬áreally is its intricate plot which I must say is quite bollywood friendly….so, I didn’t have too much trouble with the fact that it was a foreign language film (of course with subtitles). On the whole, this is a fairly good period drama which can be watched once.