Ran ★★★★

This is my first Akira Kurosawa film, and I have to say I wasn't disappointed. The cinematography is absolutely breathtaking, with incredible use of extras, sets and scenery - everything comes alive. Particularly, the costuming is bright, colourful and detailed - you can see why this film won its Academy Award for Best Costume Design.

Ran tells the story of Great Lord Hidetora Ichimonji (Tatsuya Nakadai), who at the age of seventy, after years of consolidating his empire, decides to abdicate and divide his domain amongst his three sons. Taro (Akira Terao), the eldest, will rule. Jiro (Jinpachi Nezu), his second son, and Saburo (Daisuke Ryu) will take command of the Second and Third Castles but are expected to obey and support their elder brother.

What follows from here is a fairly standard Shakespearean tale of greed, corruption, power, betrayal and the destructive capacity of ambition. It runs a little long at times, and the film could have been consolidated into a short run time; you get the idea that Kurosawa was showing off at times, which served little purpose to the story.

Additionally, the acting and dialogue can seem quite melodramatic at times, and I'm not sure whether this is because I'm approaching the movie from a Western sensibility. I had a great time watching Ran and it has definitely opened my eyes up to watching some more Kurosawa movies.

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