Throne of Blood
- Akira Kurosawa
- Reviewed by
- Gon Curiel a.k.a. Groucho
- Review date
- Thursday, February 03, 2005
The second Shakespeare play I read was “Macbeth”. It instantly became one of the best things I’d ever read, and probably the one I enjoyed the most. What a great story! I always knew Akira Kurosawa had adapted this immortal play into a film and I had to see it and be a part of it the day after finishing the play. So, I saw it, I loved it, and I’m here to review it.
The story is transferred to medieval days in Japan, where every samurai longed to be lord of a castle. Two mighty warriors, Taketori Washizu (Toshiro Mifune) and Yoshiteru Miki (Akira Kubo), come back from a crucial battle and find a strange apparition in Cobweb Forest, a female “ghost” (Chieko Naniwa) who predicts Washizu will gain power of the most important castle around, and afterwards Miki’s son will do the same.
The prediction seems implausible and even laughable, but soon, the ambitious wife of Washizu (Isuzu Yamada) starts plotting against the now-lord of the most important castle, in order to see her husband gain power. The deed is done, and remorse starts to haunt Washizu. Soon, after innocent people pay the price of Washizu’s consequential ambition, it all becomes unbearable for the man and his wife. The consequences are definitely tragic.
Gosh, how I enjoyed this film! Not only was I amazed by how much Kurosawa respected the original text (though he did the typical “two characters into one” to make the story flow more easily), but by how he proved some stories are timeless regardless of period and place. While seeing it, I suffered a lot along with the Macbeth character, just like I did when I read the play. The ability to transfer another person’s guilt to the reader/spectator is intact in this version.
Mifune is magnificent as this conflicted and ill-fated character, whose final scene is simply unforgettable. Matching him are Yamada as his cold-blooded wife, and Takashi Shimura as an opposing general. The music, production design, photography, and general sense of grand cinema, are all there accompanied by a grand music score.
Throne of Blood is an interesting film based on a most important story. Kurosawa was brave enough to take stands and punish some characters, but the story works to perfection, and is so faithful to the original source that one can’t really complain about the adaptation at all. If you ask me, I simply adored it. What a movie!
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