I would like to say that Ran is Akira Kurosawa’s best film but that wouldn’t really be fair to the 6 or 7 other Kurosawa films that deserve that title. I’ll just say that it is a great film, one of the best ever made. Kurosawa has created more memorable set pieces than maybe any filmmaker in history but few of those could top the castle seige that takes place just over the 1 hour mark in Ran. Of all the Kurosawa films I’ve seen Ran is definitely the bleakest, the most brutal, the most hopeless and profoundly tragic one. The so-called “happy Hollywood ending” that many people whine about is really no worse than a forced tragedy, or a movie that ends on a down note because of no other reason than the filmmakers general cynical attitude towards life. The idiotic “that’s the way life really is” claim, a great cover for a misanthrop, which more often than not is based on a very shallow and inadequate representation of the world. But Ran is on a very, very short list of great films, like the great American film Chinatown, that really earns its tragedy. It bears the weight of authority, of a master filmmaker, storyteller, artist, whose interest is to tell each individual story as straight and honestly as possible. Nothing is forced; nothing is done merely for effect. That is what seperates the great ones, the ones whose works will last for all time, from the rest!