Los Angeles Times - 04/10/1992
"...One of the truest presentations of Shakespeare's tragedy..."
Sight and Sound - 01/01/2002
"...Kurosawa's visual daring is sustained to the very end....This stands as one of the most successful translations of Shakespeare to film..."
Akira Kurosawa's stunning reconception of Shakespeare's MACBETH is a dark samurai drama, set in feudal Japan. As the film begins, two soldiers--Washizu (Toshirô Mifune) and Miki (Minoru Chiaki)--find themselves lost in a dense forest during a powerful thunderstorm. Seemingly unable to leave the woods, they encounter a ghostly old woman who predicts that Washizu will soon rise to power. At the goading of his ruthless wife, Asaji (Isuzu Yamada), Washizu embarks on a murderously ambitious path and quickly fulfills the prophecy. However, his ascension is cursed by his brutal actions and soon opposition arises to challenge his blood-stained rule.
One of the finest Shakespeare adaptations to appear in any medium, Kurosawa's THRONE OF BLOOD is covered in an entrancingly macabre web. The always-amazing Mifune gives one of his greatest performances as the haunted yet unrelenting Lord Washizu, while Yamada portrays the eeriest version of Lady Macbeth to ever grace the screen or stage. A master of reinterpretation, Kurosawa incorporates strong elements of Japanese Noh drama into the film, and the result adds to the somber and chilling mood. The film's highlight, however, is the tense and skillfully paced finale, which features Washizu literally up against the wall as he faces an army of vengeful archers.
The greatest screen adaptation of Shakespeare's Macbeth is Akira Kurosawa's visceral THRONE OF BLOOD (Kumonosu jo), starring Toshiro Mifune and Isuzu Yamada as the ambitious warrior and ruthless wife who try to murder their way to power and glory. Featuring some of the Japanese master's most unforgettable, hallucinatory imagery, inspired by Noh theater as much as the classical source, this is Kurosawa at his atmospheric best.
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