This moody and violent drama is the Japanese version of Shakespeare's "Macbeth." Even translated into the Japanese language, the timeless story of political intrigue, murder, greed and revenge remains a classic.
It's visually ravishing, as you would expect, employing compositional tableaux from the Noh drama, high contrast photography, and extraordinary images of rain, galloping horses, the birds fleeing from the forest.
One of the best Shakespearean adaptations ever made, and that director Akira Kurosawa topped himself by helming the brilliant King Lear-inspired Ran 28 years later only cements the fact that he will always be heralded as one of the greats.
No stage production could match Kurosawa's Birnam Wood, and, in his final framing of the hero -- a human hedgehog, stuck with arrows -- he conjures a tragedy not laden with grandeur but pierced, like a dream, by the absurd.
Akira Kurosawa's remarkable 1957 restaging of Macbeth in samurai and expressionist terms is unquestionably one of his finest works -- charged with energy, imagination, and, in keeping with the subject, sheer horror.
We label it amusing because lightly is the only way to take this substantially serio-comic rendering of the story of an ambitious Scot into a form that combines characteristics of the Japanese No theatre and the American Western film.