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on January 31, 2016
I have long been a fan of Shakespeare, and loved Kurosawa's work from the time I first saw Seven Samurai and Rashomon years ago. Not sure how it took me this long to see this, but Throne of Blood is amazing. The drama is stirring and the tension and suspense is palpable throughout. The "Lady Macbeth" role is creepy in the very best way - absolutely brilliant performance. Mifune was as good as in anything. This easily rivals Seven Samurai as my favorite Kurosawa film.
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on February 2, 2014
Once Shakespeare is rendered cinematically in Japanese, all the great poetry is lost. But what a cinefile's delight ! Same judgement applies for Ran, Kurosawa's version of King Lear. IMHO, it bests all movie versions of the play, including Peter Brooke's. If you are familiar with the plot, you could almost watch this without subtitles. There are nuances and subtleties in the original verse that will continue to delight all lovers of English in a good interpretation- but images like these will remain unique. I think it has closer ties to traditional Japanese theater than Ran. All admirers of Kurosawa must have noticed his obsession with forrests- well, they won't be disappointed here, either for the witches' hut or in the moving version :)
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on October 18, 2015
Why does it seem that all Japanese Samurai always yelled at each other? Throne of Blood or the Spider Web Castle is Akira Kurosawa version of Shakespeare's Macbeth. Toshirô Mifune is Taketoki Washizu a Samurai General who after winning a battle is riding to his Lord's castle when he meets a woodland Spirit who foretells his future. What follows is betrayal, murder and battle. Shakespeare is good in any language. As directed by Kurosawa it becomes a spectacular story. Instead of men in kilts we have silk clad Lords and ladies, some who plot betrayal and murder and of course large numbers of Samurai soldiers. The film is well place and Mifune is a great actor. The supporting cast does a great job of moving the story along. Kurosawa's use of storms and wind add to the story and help make this dark tale more intense. This is a good film.
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on April 26, 2013
If there's one thing that stands out about this film, it's its sheer intensity. Mifune Toshiro practically chews the scenery in the lead. The incidental music is unbelievably, almost electrifyingly dramatic. The low howl of the wind alone sounds like something straight out of Eraserhead.

The cinematography is so stark and laid bare as to practically scream at the audience from beginning to end. We're all used to seeing black and white photography used to express the stylish and refined, as in the mode of a Humphrey Bogart or Bette Davis melodrama. But what Kurosawa crafts here, particularly in the wilderness scenes, is so utterly primeval that I can only compare its vision to the original King Kong. It's incredible what the brush of a true master can paint with only black and white.

As you might expect, my only reservations about this movie are as to whether it's almost _too_ intense. Is it a masterpiece, or is it just over the top?

Perhaps the very fact that we find ourselves asking such questions says more about the way we are used to seeing - and thinking about - Shakespeare than anything else. Throne of Blood is the ultimate antidote to "reverential" productions of the bard. It's a stark, brutal, no-holds-barred take on betrayal, murder, and ultimately madness. Paradoxically, I find myself wondering if for all its oriental trappings, it might not be the closest any of us will get to seeing how the Elizabethans themselves would've performed Shakespeare.

One final thought: clearly set in Japan's "Sengoku" or "Warring States" period, perhaps the most dystopian element of the film is the sense it gives that it is offering us just one small window into this bleak and horrifying age. In this, Kurosawa is clearly making a break with Shakespeare's original vision of Macbeth, which in the end resolves itself into an orderly, governed universe.

Throne of Blood offers no such solace. Rather, we are left in the end with the feeling that at any time the camera could have pulled back and shown us a whole world of murder and betrayal. An entire age of empty slaughter and pointless death, driven on by nothing more than blind, lurching panic and grasping greed.

Or, in the words of Macbeth himself:

And pity, like a naked new-born babe,
Striding the blast, or heaven's cherubim, horsed
Upon the sightless couriers of the air,
Shall blow the horrid deed in every eye,
That tears shall drown the wind. I have no spur
To prick the sides of my intent, but only
Vaulting ambition, which o'erleaps itself
And falls on the other.

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on December 4, 2015
Excellent film. It's my favorite Kurosawa film. The cinematography is brilliant, the adaptation from Shakespeare is awesome and the acting is phenomenal! There is a reason this is still regarded as the best film adaptation of MacBeth.
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on October 12, 2014
Throne Of Blood is a dark and surreal film by Akira Kurosawa based on Shakespeare's Macbeth. The imagery and landscapes bear thick fogs and stark shadows. The protagonist meets a ghost in the forest whom prophesies his ascent to power. When things come true for him, his wife warns him of the betrayal that will ensue. But is she right? What actions will he take and what are the consequences?

I highly recommend this film.
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VINE VOICEon April 3, 2011
Interesting film of about a medieval samurai based on Shakespeare's Macbeth. A ghost prophesies that a castle ruler will become the ruler of all surrounding forest castles. The prophecy comes true but with unintended consequences for himself and his family. There is even a Lady Macbeth moment.
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on December 7, 2012
Certainly one of the best renditions of the Macbeth story and a very well-done movie by the incomparable Kurosawa. The black-and-white scenes capture the dark mood and atmosphere so well. This is one movie classic you don't want to miss!
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on November 16, 2014
This is an excellent example of a lost genre...genuine Samurai story directed by Akira Kurosawa. It is Japanese version of Macbeth. It is a rare combination of traditional medieval Japan and the Noh Theater with provocative performance by Toshiro Mifune. In the recent Hobbit Trilogy, the scene where trees were walking was taken from this film by Jackson. It is a rare find unmatched by any Western copy.
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on April 21, 2016
Mifune might be at his best in this Japanese retelling of Macbeth. Please watch this movie.

The ending is one of my favorites in any film I've ever seen.
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