Halloween Review – “Throne of Blood”

Now for a slightly different ghost story.

Cast, Crew, and Other Info

Complete information is available from the IMDB. It’s directed by Akira Kurosawa, and it’s an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. I neither recognize nor trust my ability to spell the names of the other individuals involved.

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A soldier receives a strange prophecy just before rocketing to the top of the pecking order. It strains a few things, including his marriage.

High Point

Making a pin cushion.

Low Point

We don’t get a chance to get to know the main characters before their world starts to fall apart. It’s hard to maintain sympathy.

The Scores

It’s MacBeth with samurai. Apart from the setting, there’s nothing new or original here. The setting itself isn’t even new for Kurosawa. I give it 2 out of 6.

The effects are pretty good for the year and budget. The final arrow looks convincing as it comes, too. There are a couple of jump cuts that are accidental, since they’re masking the sudden removal or addition of some character or prop. I give it 4 out of 6.

The story is a classic, with all of the gaps filled in. The lack of personal lives among the main characters seems more like a cultural difference to me than anything, given the number of Japanese films I’ve seen that have this trait. I’ll give it 4 out of 6.

The acting isn’t terribly varied, and it can get cheesy. I give it 4 out of 6.

The emotional response is dampened by diving strait into the collapse of the characters’ lives. There’s no investment to really resonate for the audience. I give it 4 out of 6.

The production is the aspect where Kurosawa comes through. This isn’t the best script Kurosawa has worked with, but he still keeps his distinctive style. When I took some basic film studies courses, we learned about things like establishing shots, the 180 degree rule, and other standard tricks meant to ensure that the audience immediately knows what’s going on and where we are. Kurosawa breaks many of these fundamental rules, and his movies still work. That’s impressive. I give it 5 out of 6.

Overall, it’s a decent movie. There are better versions of MacBeth, and there are better Kurosawa films. See it if you’re a completist, or if you want to see how they mix. I give it 4 out of 6.

In total, Throne of Blood receives 27 out of 42.

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