Ran is probably cinema's greatest rendition of a Shakespearean Epic, ironically coming from an oriental film-maker. Adapted by Kurosawa from Shakespeare's King Lear, Ran undoubtedly features amongst the best works of the master auteur. It captures with sheer vividness and surreal resplendence, the true essence of human struggle for survival, highlighting the cruelties associated with life. Ran is strictly indicative of the sole consistency of life i.e. change, an attribute that not only makes the humans vulnerable but also gives them the hope to rise after a fall.
The story focuses on a senile warlord, who owing to his senescence is rapidly losing his strength and his ferocious grandeur that he had earned through years of relentless savagery and ruthless slaughter, ergo he renounces to his three sons, hoping them to establish a sort of a triumvirate with the eldest son having a slight edge. His two elder sons accept the proposal with rapturous glee, but his youngest son seems bemused and questions the wits of the patriarch for taking the untimely decision. Though arrantly annoyed by his son's audacious defiance, he tries to console him, only to find him inconsolable. Deeply hurt by his son's impertinence and censure, he reluctantly banishes him and enthrones the two elder sons. The rest is rather worth a watch than a read, for there is nothing that can better the sumptuous elegance of Ran.
The brilliantly captured scenes are breathtaking to say the least, especially the war scene that depicts fate casting the final blow to the ruthless reign of the warlord. The brutality and the bloodshed depicted in the very scene can make even a cold-blooded appear jittery. Ran portrays the poetic justice in such a relentless and abominable fashion that one can't help but sympathize with the narcissistic warlord, who spent his life arrogating and annihilating the innocent souls. The plaintive score gives the movie a much desired tone, a mood that not only supports its melancholic backdrop, but also immensely adds to its poignant beauty. The final scene featuring the blind boy, deeply clutched by his haplessness and gross solitude, though doesn't feature an utterance of even a single syllable, the playback of the mystical flute makes the scene haunting as well as mesmerising and worth a thousand words. Ran is a classic example of Kurosawa's brilliance and perhaps a consummation of his apotheosis.
A must watch for eclectic viewers and admirers of pristine cinema. Highly recommended: 10/10.
Stanley Kubrick is unarguably Anglo-American cinema's most potent reply to the 'Fellinis', the 'Bunuels', the 'Bergmans', the 'Kurosawas', the 'Rays', and the 'Tarkovskys' of the world. Ubiquitously known for his inexorable yearning for perfection and uncanny innovation, Kubrick had managed to hold millions of viewers worldwide in a transfixion through his brilliant works for well over four decades. Regarded by Kubrick as his very best, Eyes Wide Shut is incredibly brilliant and sui generis. It's an elixir for the sore eyes; a panacea for the perturbed souls; a surreally psychedelic pleasure. Like most of his avant-garde works, Eyes Wide Shut is open to speculation and can be interpreted in a number of ways.
Despite being rife with nudity, Eyes Wide Shut cannot be stigmatized or snubbed on the account of eroticism. On the contrary, it is aesthetic as well as thought-provoking. The movie incredibly manages to have a tremendous impact on the intellect as well as the viscera, asking incessant questions of the viewer while simultaneously haunting his thoughts and refining his imagination. The story revolves around a New York based doctor whose wife's confession of ephemeral infidelity perplexes him. Consequently, his chagrin and dudgeon drives him into a night of debauchery where he gets a lesson on sexual and moral enlightenment, which inexplicably saves him from an incipient turmoil. The cinematography is awe-inspiring to say the least and is well complemented by the plaintively haunting background score. The orgy scene, which is treated with contempt by many, is undoubtedly one of the most vivid scenes ever visualized or choreographed in the history of cinema. In fact, it is Kubrick's brilliant showmanship that makes it so very special.
Tom Cruise is absolutely brilliant and convincing in the challenging portrayal of Dr. Harford and succeeds in having an enormous impact on the viewers and also manages to evoke their empathy. The nocturnal odyssey being rife with debauchery and decadence, ironically serves as a lesson of moral reformation. Nicole Kidman is ravishingly scintillating in her portrayal. The couple has incredibly managed to mirror their real life chemistry and tension on screen.
The movie is a quintessence of cinematic excellence and can only be relished by discarding bigotry, conservatism and prejudice. The movie is a delectable feast and a must watch for patient viewers and lovers of avant-garde cinema. 10/10
Surrealism can appear to be ineffably bizarre, or inquisitively titillating, depending purely on the viewer's intellect. Though the realm of surrealism is highly nebulous and complex, but even a slight attempt at improvisation can sometimes go awry and open a Pandora's Box, making the task highly improbable and nigh impossible. This facet of reality may pose a handicap to the most gifted of the directors, but not to the genius of Christopher Nolan, who not only dabbles with the concept of surrealism, but also ingeniously blends it with the elements of Science Fiction in his latest wonder named Inception. Nolan created a niche for himself a decade back by unleashing a monster of a movie called Memento. He further substantiated his status by conjuring movies like Insomnia, The Prestige, Batman Begins, and The Dark Knight. His unremitting desire for innovation and uncanny craving to foray into the unexplored realms of imagination deservedly earned him an auteur tag, which gave him the carte blanche that a story-teller like Nolan desperately needs. It's highly apparent that Nolan takes every possible advantage of this liberty while filming Inception. Inception is not only dreamlike, but is a dream in itself and is superior to any other thing conceived on the silver screen. With its entwined layers, the movie for the most part serves as an unfathomable riddle and makes multiple viewing extremely essential. It incredibly does extremely well on both the humanistic as well as the technical fronts. In fact, the balance between human emotions and the elements of Science Fiction is so adequate that it's impossible to separate them.
The movie is about a futuristic world where the human mind can be intercepted through dream invasion. Cobb is an expert in the art of extracting information (stealing valuable secrets) from deep within the subconscious in the dream state. His proficiency in extraction is marred by a turmoil that begins with his wife's untimely death. He is forced to live the life of a fugitive away from his children. His only chance for redemption lies with a Japanese tycoon named Saitu, who wants him to do an inception (planting information into someone's mind). In order to accomplish this unprecedented task, Cobb and his team must overcome a labyrinth of unforeseeable challenges, where even a slight miss could trap them in a perpetual limbo. Any further revelation would be remissness on my part as the plot is filled with such intricacies that even expatiation would be incapable of justifying its profundity.
Leonardo Dicaprio gives a solid performance in the lead role, following his memorable performance in Shutter Island. He has brilliantly depicted the complexities and limitations of Cobb's enigmatic character highlighting his pain and mental trauma. Marion Cotillard is ravishingly scintillating as Cobb's whimsical wife, Mal. The rest of the cast has given a thorough performance with special mention of Ken Watanabe, Ellen Page and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
Inception is incredibly brilliant as a movie and is a breakthrough in contemporary cinema. Nolan's creativity and his unparalleled execution definitely make it an object of great cachet, but whether it would become Buñuel's 'Un chien andalou' or Kubrick's '2001: A Space Odyssey' and serve as a prototype for the movies to come is for the time to decide. Irrespectively, Inception is sine qua non not only for an aficionado, but also for the average viewer, who is willing to delve deep enough to savour the delight.
PS: One has to imagine it to believe it. 9/10