Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time!
Empire's Guardians Of The Galaxy Cover
Does Star Wars Have A Brain Trust?
Nick Frost:
My Movie Life

The World's End star's pick of the flicks
Subscribe: 6 Issues For £15!
Subscribe today and save 37% off the cover price!
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
12
Cast
Toshiro Mifune
Isuzu Yamada
Takashi Shimura.
Directors
Akira Kurosawa.
Screenwriters
Hideo Oguni
Shinobu Hashimoto
Ryuzo Kikushima.
Running Time
110 minutes

LATEST FILM REVIEWS
Blackwood
2 Star Empire Rating
What If
3 Star Empire Rating
Congress, The
3 Star Empire Rating
Two Days, One Night
5 Star Empire Rating
Purge: Anarchy, The
3 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Two Days, One Night
5 Star Empire Rating
Some Like It Hot
5 Star Empire Rating
A Hard Day's Night
5 Star Empire Rating
Boyhood
5 Star Empire Rating
Rebel Without A Cause
5 Star Empire Rating

Throne of Blood


submit to reddit


Plot
A samurai is told by a witch that he will assume the throne. However, only the vaunting ambition of his ruthless wife prompts him to act. But retaining power proves more problematic than winning it in a bloody way...


Review
The most Western of all Japanese directors, Akira Kurosawa is rightly revered as one of the masters of the artform. Whether demonstrating the duplicity of the moving image in Rashomon, or the pitiless pageantry of war in Kagemusha, he managed to remain true to his cultural identity, while achieving a universality of emotion and theme.

An exhaustive retrospective of Kurosawa’s work will play at the National Film Theatre throughout January and February, before a judicious selection tours the rest of the U.K.. Two films, however, have been singled out for extended runs — The Hidden Fortress (next month) and his 1957 reworking of Macbeth, Throne Of Blood.

In keeping with its source, this is one of Kurosawa’s bleakest films. Swept along by events he is too weak to control, General Washizu is undone less by the corrupting promise of power than by his inability to fulfil his destiny. His wife and accomplice ultimately suffers a similar fate. But at least Lady Asaji has the self-possession to pursue her ambitions.

Although this is an adaptation of Shakespeare, several of Kurosawa’s staging strategies derive from Noh theatre — among them the use of a chorus, the formalised movement of the characters, the mask-like make-up of the female figures and the precise union of story and style. Even the absence of close-ups approximates the audience’s distance from the stage.

Yet it’s also highly cinematic: shrouding shadows and translucent mists swirl round the wondrously atmospheric castle, while the wind and rain ceaselessly symbolise a world calamitously out of sorts. Moreover, it’s a film studded with magnificent set-pieces — none more memorable than the invasion of Cobweb Castle by countless birds of ill omen, the relentless march of the forest and Washizu’s hideous demise at the hands of merciless bow-men.


Verdict
With its all-pervading sense of doom, this is a serious contender for the finest celluloid Shakespeare of them all.


Reviewed by David Parkinson

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.

Your Reviews

Average user rating for Throne of Blood
Empire Star Rating

A great film, despite lack of fights,

SPOILERS --- But if you don't know the story of what's the deal? In its own right OF BLOODreat film – drenched in a palatable atmosphere, filled with terrific performances and unforgettable scenes. However, claims that is it is a faithful adaptation (in some cases the most faithful]MACBETHte its resetting to Japan, are so misguided you'd wonder if the philistines commenting on this film had ever read the play. For starters, any adaptation of oesn't begin with the big M kicking ass and tak... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by directorscut at 22:19, 24 November 2007 | Report This Post


kurosawa at hs finest.This film is a maserpiece. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by bobbyperu at 01:14, 21 October 2007 | Report This Post


kurosawa at hs finest.This film is a maserpiece. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by bobbyperu at 01:14, 21 October 2007 | Report This Post


SPECIAL FEATURE
The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time EMPIRE READERS' POLL: THE 301 GREATEST MOVIES OF ALL TIME
You turned out in your hundreds and thousands, and here are the results... Browse the full list


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
Classic Feature: The Making Of The Silence Of The Lambs
Is this the most frightening movie ever made?

Classic Feature: Jack Nicholson - Gods Among Us
Charisma, consistency and cunning summed up in a single word: Jack.

Director Matt Reeves Spills Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes Secrets
What we learned from our Empire podcast spoiler special

Peter Fonda On Peter Fonda
The Hollywood legend relives his career highlights

Kevin Feige Talks Ant-Man, Guardians Of The Galaxy And Doctor Strange
The Marvel boss updates us on the state of his cinematic universe

Keith Carradine On Keith Carradine
'Television is really the place to go if you want to do anything of substance now.'

Video: Gary Oldman And Keri Russell Talk Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes
Would you watch Carry On Up The Planet Of The Apes?

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time Subscribers' Cover

Subscribe today and get the cover and 3 issues for only £10!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save maney on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 6 issues of Empire for just £15!
Get the world's greatest movie magazine delivered straight to your door! Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)