Japan, 16th century. The aging ruler of Hidetora announces the division of his possessions between his three sons.
Deceived by false assurances of loyalty to the two eldest sons of Hidetora, he drives away the younger, who dared to assert that his father’s decision would bring death to their entire family. Having become a victim of an insidious betrayal, the ruler loses his mind, and a merciless fratricidal war begins between his heirs.
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Ran is by far one of Akira Kurosawa’s finest films. For ten years, the great master of cinema has thought over every scene of this, without exaggeration, epoch-making samurai drama. Especially for the film, an analogue of a medieval castle was built (set in fire), more than a thousand costumes were made, two hundred trained horses were involved. Kurosawa wanted to make a truly large-scale film, and he succeeded.
âItâs easy to break one arrow, but itâs not so easy to break three together. (from)
So thought Ichimonji Hidetoru, the ruthless feudal lord of the bloody Sengoku era, when he passed the reins of government over his lands to his three sons, led by the eldest son of Taro. But samurai brought up in cruelty are not capable of feeling love for their own father, only flattery in their mouths, and in their eyes – a thirst for power. Only the youngest son Saburo, retaining loyalty to his father, is trying to open his eyes to the recklessness of the idea of ââtransferring power. But Hidetoru hears only envy in the words of his younger son and renounces him. This film is an interpretation of Shakespeare’s “King Lear”, transposed into the realities of the feudal era of Japan. Kurosawa is truly a brilliant director who knows how to subtly weave the legends of other peoples into the unique and unlikely culture of his native country.
âIn a crazy world, only a madman is sane. (from)
One of the main features of the film is the unsurpassed acting. The leading actor Tatsuya Nakadai is especially magnificent. His role is a vivid example of how you need to surrender on the set, going through the entire story path with your hero. This piercing wild look of a distraught Hidetoru causes goosebumps on the viewer’s skin. Confidently and brightly, Nakadai moved in this role from a decisive samurai, through an offended father, and to a complete madman. Yes, yes, exactly “perfect”, because his mental clouding is one of the most striking in the history of cinema. Other actors also hold their ground, and this is probably the merit of a skillful director who knows exactly what he wants to see in his film.
– A real warrior never flees from the battlefield to his woman! (from)
Two girls, whose parents were once killed by the cruel Hidetoru, like two drops of completely different liquid, are similar in shape but completely different in nature. Kaede, the wife of the eldest son, has been carrying hatred for the Ichimonji family all her life, which became her family, but did not replace her own. Kaede is cruel and power-hungry, she alternately crushes the will of the brothers fighting for power in the provinces. No wonder one of the generals of the middle brother Jiro compares this woman with Kitsune (a werewolf fox), because she plans to taste a cold dish of revenge, plunging everything around into chaos. The exact opposite of her is the wife of her middle brother, a quiet girl named Sue. Years killed her hatred for her bloody father-in-law, and faith in the all-forgiving Buddha strengthened her fortitude. These two images are introduced by Kurosawa as antipodes, a demonstration of the difference in the characters of people who have experienced the same grief.
– What am I, attached to this old man? If the stone on which you are sitting begins to roll down the slope, you must jump off it as soon as possible, otherwise you will share its fate. (from)
As in Shakespeare’s play, the jester is a very important character in the film. He is not just a fool with the right to publicity, but a much wiser man than many of those whom he serves. Subtly noticing every little thing, the jester veiled, and sometimes explicitly, ridicules his master and his entourage. Not for fun, but in order to push them on the right path. Hidetoru does not heed the jester’s warnings, and soon he himself becomes like a fool lost in his own memories and thoughts. The jester stays close to his master throughout the whole picture, not daring to leave him alone, even when despair goes beyond all reasonable limits. The role of the jester, played by Peter, is undoubtedly the second most skillful in this picture.
– Do not blaspheme! The gods cannot save us from ourselves! (from)
Events in “Chaos” develop according to the principle of constant pressure, it is not for nothing that Kurosawa periodically shows the sky in the frame, at first covered with light clouds, and later drowning in black clouds. Separately, it is worth noting the scene of the capture and burning of the castle, which does not go out of memory after viewing, leaving the brightest impressions, mostly dazzling with blood-red shades. The main idea of ââthe director was that this battle scene is devoid of sound. There are no screams of the dying, no gunshots, no whistle of swords, only a piercing and depressing melody accompanies this bewitching scene. Then, for a long time, the memory of warriors crawling in the mud and stuck with arrows, concubines killing each other, a soldier holding his other hand in his own hand … severed by a sword. And the face of the elder Ichimonji, empty from mental pain, sitting motionless in the middle of a burning castle, is the apogee of hell unfolding around.
Kurosawa is perhaps the best illustration of the recurrence of all atrocities. Wandering around the castle, once destroyed with his own hands, Grand Duke Hidetoru wonders – why did he do it? All those events that fall on the head of the old man in the course of the narrative are only a consequence of his own policy, which did not leave any part of compassion in the hearts of those around him.
Conclusion: An unambiguous masterpiece of cinematography. Stunning and large-scale scenes, flawless acting. This great film won just one Oscar for costume design. Kurosawa did not receive an award for best directing, although he undoubtedly deserves it, and it is for Ran.
Codec: HEVC / H.265 (42.4 Mb/s)
Resolution: Native 4K (2160p)
HDR: Dolby Vision, HDR10
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Original aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Japanese: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Japanese: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Japanese: Dolby Digital 5.1
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
English: Dolby Digital 5.1
French: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
German: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
English, French, German.