Movie review: Ran (1985)

Legendary Japanese auteur Akira Kurosawa retells Shakespeare's classic tragedy King Lear against a samurai backdrop. Tatsuya Nakadia is a warlord who transfers his kingdom to his eldest son. A power struggle ensues, incited by his two disinherited younger sons. Kurosawa is a master storyteller (almost on par with The Bard himself), and Ran ranks among the maestro's most compelling films.

Akira Kurosawa is the same Akira Kurosawa of Seven Samurai, which I've already reviewed, and which I also enjoyed. While I actually picked up a copy of Ran from a local ShopKo, I had initially put it into my Netflix queue, especially after having seen Seven Samurai.

While similar to Seven Samurai in many ways, Ran is actually, as the description above stated, based on Shakespeare's King Lear. A part of me, and no small part at that, now has a deep interest in pulling his Complete Works off of my shelf so that I can read this story. In the meantime, I've made a note to put as many of Akira Kurosawa's movies in my queue as I can.

I've given Ran a five stars rating, and have, as I said above, picked up a copy of the movie. While points may seem to drag on, and it seems like it's over three hours long, it's a pretty darn good movie. Unfortunately, not everyone will like this film, but it's nonetheless worth watching at least once, especially if you like Akira Kurosawa's other works, are interested in feudal Japan, or even Shakespeare and/or King Lear.

Rated: R
160 min