|Orion Classics | Release Date: December 20, 1985||CRITIC SCORE DISTRIBUTION|
Kurosawa pulled out all the stops with Ran, his obsession with loyalty and his love of expressionistic film techniques allowed to roam freely.
In many respects, it's Kurosawa's most sumptuous film, a feast of color, motion and sound: Considering that its brethren include "Kagemusha," "The Seven Samurai" and "Dersu Uzala," the achievement is extraordinary. [01 Dec 2000, p.26]
Ran, which translates as "chaos" or "turmoil," is at once brisk and vital, elegiac and contemplative, intimate and epic, tragic yet shot through with humor. It combines the energy of youth with the perspective of maturity. It encompasses all of human nature in its folly and grandeur, and it does so in images as beautiful and terrifying as any ever captured on film and in performances that are impeccable. Read full review
If Shakespeare's poetry enters the mind through the ear, Kurosawa's enters it through the eye. But the imagery is of comparable quality, at once awesome in its power, delicate in its irony and, finally, for all the violence of the events it recounts, eerily serene in the sureness with which it achieves its effects. Read full review
Though big in physical scope and of a beauty that suggests a kind of drunken, barbaric lyricism, ''Ran'' has the terrible logic and clarity of a morality tale seen in tight close-up, of a myth that, while being utterly specific and particular in its time and place, remains ageless, infinitely adaptable. Read full review
All that matters is that emotions be real, and so they are: wracking grief, harrowing madness, unquenchable hate. Composers have tried and failed to turn "Lear" into a workable opera, but Kurosawa has found the visual equivalent. Yet the last image of a man, solitary and silent, is more haunting than all the destruction. [10 Aug 2001, p.7E]
The Japanese title means chaos, and that is what is let loose when a powerful king foolishly tries to release the reins of power, in the hopes of enjoying a peaceful old age.
In Ran, color plays a role not unlike that of language in "Lear": a kind of ground bass of beauty, a product of pure imagination, that both affirms life and surpasses it. Yet Kurosawa uses that beauty more as negation: a reminder not of what man is capable of but how puny he is in comparison. Read full review
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