The lamb lies down with the wolves. It's almost impossible to judge the film, since it's not what Kurosawa had intended. You could compare it to 'Simon of the Desert', though this is much more literary with the intertitles. Sometimes the acting hearkens back to the silent age. I definitely have a problem with the wipes, because it reminds me of 'Star Wars Episode 1'.
Set in Hokkaido 1951, gives a great opportunity to see Japan just a few years after the war. Beautiful outdoor shots and top class cinematography. Great cast. Strangely, I found this film rather confusing while watching and turns out The Idiot was originally intended to be two part film, 265minutes long by Kurosawa. Unfortunately the studio decided re-edit and severely cut whole sections, the original is lost.
While not Kurosawa at his absolute peak, it would be foolish to let that distract from this all together very different effort. If Ran is his Mizoguchi, than this seems to be his Ozu. Certainly not in style but more so in the social deconstruction of the whole affair. It loses it's way slightly in the second half, but the numerous haunting moments are too much a threat for this no to be worth a view.
anyone else see huge parallels between the idiot and mifune to franz and reinhold in berlin alexanderplatz? both the films and novels. anyway as a whole this film is a bit of a mess, the tampering with by shochiku (production company) is obvious, if the narration and explanatory text was frequent throughout it wouldn't have been a problem but confined to just the very beginning severely lessened the film.
A flawed film, mostly due to the butchered editing, is still notable for the raw emotion that Kurosawa is able to put across. Complex if not realist characters deal with there conflicting desires in something that is truly epic. I would kill to see the full cut.
You'd think when you have Kurosawa adapt his fav author's book w/ Hara & Mifune and he wants to make it a 2-part epic that you'd keep it intact after 1 bad screening. Even if he indulges himself w/ the author's work & looses sight of making something of his own. Despite some annoying intertitles & voiceover in the 1st half, there are enough flashes of brilliance that peek through the flaws caused by director & studio
Going to watch this film? Print out a copy of the cast of characters, just like you were watching a play. Otherwise you will just get lost. >>Great geometric cinematography! Unlike any other Kurosawa I have seen. >>But it was his greatest disappointment: he told the studio "why didn't you just cut it lengthwise!" when he saw the studio's edit. >>The Idiot, Prince Myshkin: the only sane character in the film!!
"Wisdom comes in two kinds: important and unimportant. But nobody realizes that." This film demonstrates the latter. Save a few scenes and a couple good camera movements, the pacing is too slow, the tension soap-operatic and the editing is flat out clumsy. Overall, a story that is not for the cinema. P.S. Three years later parts of the score (the good ones) were stolen by Disney for 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA.