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 Future Of Film
The 100 Greatest Video Games
The Making Of The West Wing
Subscribe To Empire Today
Save money and get 12 issues for only £25
Go Think Big
Helping young people achieve their career dreams
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
Fury
3 Star Empire Rating
Way He Looks, The
4 Star Empire Rating
Serena
2 Star Empire Rating
Book Of Life, The
3 Star Empire Rating
Björk: Biophilia Live
4 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Le Jour Se Lève
5 Star Empire Rating
Tony Benn: Will And Testament
5 Star Empire Rating
Nightcrawler
5 Star Empire Rating
Babadook, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari, The
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
The Empire Podcast #133: Robert Duvall, Anna Faris And James Marsden Interviews
Plus the team discuss the latest news on the upcoming DC and Marvel movies

Documentaries: What Happened Next
We track down and interview the stars of great non-fiction films

Movie Poster Mashups: Sean Bean Edition
You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll be appalled at the punning...

Your Introductory Guide To That DC Movie Slate
Suicide Squad? Cyborg? Aquaman? We explain who’s who in the DC Universe

Video Interviews: Megan Fox And Will Arnett Talk Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Plus the director and producers on the tone of their new turtle flick

Captain America 3, Iron Man And Civil War: Where Next For The Marvel Cinematic Universe?
What to make of today's Marvel news

Interactive Gallery: Explore Iconic Movie Spacesuits
Explore the fabric of space-time

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 12 Issues Of Empire For Only £25!

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save money on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 12 issues of Empire for just £25!
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  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)