10PM on a work night probably isn't the ideal time to have a Kurosawa urge... but my impulse was too strong and so I watched Ran. It's always been a magnificent film but watching it on bluray was incredible. The format lends itself to Kurosawa's epic story beautifully. The cinematography and use of widescreen is breathtaking and the film has never looked so good. If you've never seen it, it's a Japanese retelling of Shakespeare's King Lear. Combined with Japanese lore the film tells of a ruler gone mad who abdicates his position to his eldest son and divides his land amongst all 3 sons. When one of them rejects the offer believing his father's whim to be out of insanity, he is banished. As the father sinks deeper into madness a power struggle begins between the other two brothers. It's a richly textured film, both visually and thematically. When it needs to be violent the blood is let brutally and when it needs to be tender the emotions are worn on it's sleeve. Many consider this to be Kurosawa's masterpeice and it definitely is amongst his best, but I personally think his next film, Dreams, was his best and most personal. Nevertheless as he was nearing the end of his career (and life), Ran still feels like a personal film. It is very much a statement about the nature of man and I can't help but feel that Kurosawa was disheartened by this. It is even spoken in the film that man seems more content being at war with each other that it wishes for peace. Ran is an epic film made all the more powerful on bluray.