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Time Out saysKurosawa established himself as the best cinematic interpreter of Shakespeare with his recasting of Macbeth as a samurai warlord in Throne of Blood. That he should in his later years turn to King Lear is appropriate, and the results are all that one could possibly dream of. Ran proposes a great warlord (Nakadai), in a less than serene old age, dividing his kingdoms up between his three sons. True to the original, the one he dispossesses is the only one faithful to him, and ran (chaos) ensues as the two elder sons battle for power, egged on by the Lady Kaede (an incendiary performance from Mieko Harada). The shift and sway of a nation divided is vast, the chaos terrible, the battle scenes the most ghastly ever filmed, and the outcome is even bleaker than Shakespeare's. Indeed the only note of optimism resides in the nobility of the film itself: a huge, tormented canvas, in which Kurosawa even contrives to command the elements to obey his vision. A Lear for our age, and for all time. CPea.