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- Throne of Blood
- 110 min.
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In Throne of Blood, Kurosawa addresses many of my problems with MacBeth by changing and/or clarifying the lead couple's motivations, and the wonderful casting certainly helps. Toshiro Mifune is always watchable, but it's Isuzu Yamada as his Lady MacBeth that really steals the show. Very, very creepy, almost like she's a figment of his tortured imagination rather than a real person. This is a rather experimental film for Kurosawa, one that holds shots far too long, crosses the line, uses aggressive musical stings, and creates spare kabuki spaces, make-up and expressions to make the audience uncomfortable. It may seem boring to modern audiences, but embrace it and all will be well. It is a mood piece, first and foremost, and a visual masterwork with an incredible arrow-laden climax.
Very gripping, amazing shots and arrow scene is a treat to eyes.
I shall speak quickly and plainly.
I didn't expect to enjoy Shakespeare on film but Kurosawa seemed to alter the story for my tastes nicely and the samurai setting is just icing on Der Kuchen. All in all, the story is very powerful and fascinating. Excellent for everyone interested in the period, just be prepared for the fantasy elements.
But yeah, it is an excellent movie overall, powered by the amazing performance by Toshiro Mifune. I don't think I've seen anyone portrary a man gone insane better than him.
And the final 10 minutes in my book go down as one of the finest ever. The shower of arrows (done by real arrows and archers) was just beyond insane and the final killing blow is just a magnificent editing trick. It is really neat to see stuff like this in old movies.
Favorite part of the movie: In the beginning the original daimyo rejected the rival daimyo's peace offer. Stupid fucking AI.
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In 17 official lists
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This movie ranks #7 in Patrick Galloway's guide to samurai films
This movie ranks #20 in IMDb's History Top 50
This movie ranks #27 in 101 War Movies You Must See Before You Die
This movie ranks #28 in Stanley Kubrick, Cinephile
This movie ranks #47 in IMDb's 1950s Top 50
This movie ranks #121 in Kinema Junpo Top Japanese Films
This movie ranks #148 in Asian Cinema: A Field Guide
This movie ranks #217 in The Criterion Collection
This movie ranks #217 in The Story of Film: An Odyssey
This movie ranks #218 in Halliwell's Top 1000: The Ultimate Movie Countdown
This movie ranks #259 in The British Film Institute: 360 Classics
This movie ranks #273 in They Shoot Pictures, Don't They?
This movie ranks #310 in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die
This movie ranks #317 in Sight and Sound 2012 - Combined List
This movie ranks #498 in The Guardian's 1000 Films to See Before You Die
This movie ranks #549 in Have You Seen? A Personal Introduction to 1,000 Films
This movie ranks #889 in NY Times' The Essential 1,000 Films to See