1950 / Director. Akira Kurosawa.
Review by Glenn Cochrane.
"The Rashomon Effect" is a method of filmmaking that has been adopted by various films throughout the years. It is a style of storytelling where the same event is recalled from different perspectives and films such as GONE GIRL and HOODWINKED are recent examples. The term itself harks back to Akira Kurosawa's 1950 classic, RASHOMON. The film begins with three men sheltering from the rain beneath a decrepit gateway structure (a Rashomon). Two of them are troubled with their thoughts and the third is curious as to why. And so they tell their story. The facts of the matter are that a woman was raped and a man was murdered. Exactly how the events occurred is a matter of opinion and the story flashes back to a trial where the witnesses recall the events from conflicting perspectives. As with almost every Kurosawa film RASHOMON is an influential timepiece. It's groundbreaking structure, cinematic style, minimalist production design and iconic characters are undeniable... and yet, despite being one of his shortest films, I confess that I struggle with it. I've seen it several times and I am always struck by it's visual wonder, but the story itself is uninteresting to me and my patience is always tested. The crime depicted in the film is dull and to bare witness to it FOUR times is asking a lot. I'm happy to sit with the minority on this one, though. It is clearly an important and pivotal moment in cinematic history and it's influence is clear. It's a technically inspiring film with a droll and insipid story. Not one of my favourites.