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(Review originally written at 9 October 2010)

Over the years actor Toshirô Mifune and director Akira Kurosawa have collaborated on lots of movies together but I have never seen Toshirô Mifune going as crazy as he did in this movie. Normally he plays the cool, noble Samurai but this time he is the mad, hungry for power lord, that wants to become the next emperor of Japan. It's an awesome performances by him. Perhaps the main premise of the movie sounds a bit familiar, which is because it's basically being a Japanese adaptation of Shakespeare's Macbeth.

It was the first time Kurosawa took on a Shakespeare play and it wouldn't be until 3 decades later that he would take on another attempt with his movie "Ran", that is an adaptation of Shakespeare's King Lear.

I wouldn't go that far calling this movie the best Macbeth adaptation but I have to give this movie that it makes the story a very accessible one. You could say that the story gets simplified a bit and with its 110 minutes it's also a quite short movie. I feel that it's also an accessible Kurosawa, so when you aren't really into his movies or Japanese early cinema, this movie still remains a perfectly watchable and accessible one.

Main thing about this movie is that it's a beautiful looking one. It's masterfully directed, with lots of eye for detail and its environments. The cinematography is great and the fact that it's a black & white movie also adds a lot.

But also yet again, Kurosawa manages to tell a simple story in an incredible and intriguing way. The characters get developed and handled very well, which is of course also thanks to the fine actors portraying them.

Simply one fine movie.

8/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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