Classics Review: Rashomon

Hello fellow movie goers from around the globe. Today’s classic review is yet another groundbreaking film by legendary director Akira Kurosawa titled, “Rashomon.” The Premise involves four people sharing their own perspective of a samurai’s murder. Each one’s story contradicts certain elements whether it’s real or not. Rashomon was officially released in 1950. (exact same year credit cards were invented) The film was digitally restored by The Criterion Collection as spine number 138. At the time, Japanese critics disliked it. However, it was praised in America earning an Honorary Academy Award in 1952. Four Years Later, The Academy established “Best International Film” formerly known as “Best Foreign Film.” Rashomon was digitally restored by The Criterion Collection as spine number 138. Robert Altman & Roger Ebert mentioned Rashomon as one of their favorite films.

The film coined the term, “Rashomon Effect.” Meaning, a subject is told in multiple perspectives. Hence Obi-Wan’s line in “Return of the Jedi.” “What I told you was true, from a certain point of view.” Over the years, the aforementioned technique is used in other works like Ed Edd n’ Eddy’s episode “Once Upon an Ed” with the trio explaining how they got stuck in Johnny’s wall with a different version reflecting each one’s personality. Even Lizzie McGuire’s food fight episode “She Said, He Said, She Said” pays homage to Rashomon with Lizzie, her rival Kate and a geek named, Larry sharing their own iteration on who started this commotion. while they clean up the cafeteria. Which is played for laughs. It’s a darn shame Hiliary Duff’s show never got revived on Disney Plus due to COVID-19. This is why we can’t have nice things.

Anyway, the sole reason why I wanted to share my thoughts on Rashomon, is because “Ghost of Tsushima, a video game inspired by Akira Kurosawa’s works, is getting a sequel. I already wrote a review on “Seven Samurai.” Feel free to check it out.

True & False Aspects

True: Akira Kurosawa did an excellent job directing. He also wrote the script.

The Cast including Kurosawa’s frequent collaborator Toshiro Mifune, all did a fantastic job for their respective performances.

Cinematography captures in-depth imagery, lighting and steady movement.

Costume Designs and Set Pieces matched the Heian period.

Pacing felt normal for an hour and a half duration. I never got bored since the beginning.

The samurai’s murder is presented in flashbacks by four people. Each one’s story contradicts the outcome whether or not the person is telling the truth or lying to save his or her skin.

Kurosawa’s trademark “wipe effect” transitions from one scene to another. George Lucas used this in “Star Wars.” George mentioned Kurosawa as an influence.

A dagger, a katana, a samurai cap, and an amulet play pivotal roles.

Primary Themes are Truth, Deception, Ambiguity, Morality & Perception. Each one’s handled maturely.

I think the film is left to the viewer to interpret which story is real. Think of it as a “Choose Your Own Adventure” kinda thing.

False: I couldn’t find nothing wrong. I’m giving the Cast & Crew an Extra Point for making a flawless film as possible.

If you’re not into movies with subtitles, you may not like it. I on the other hand, managed to get used to it. I’ll let this con slide.

The Final Verdict: A, FOR APEX!

Rashomon is an innovative thought-provoking story. Perhaps the best (if not the best) film of 1950. Akira Kurosawa crafted a groundbreaking cinematic achievement influencing past, present and future filmmakers. If you haven’t seen this gem, I strongly recommend it. Don’t forget to check out Kurosawa’s best works like Seven Samauri, “Yojimbo” & “Ran.” All three are included in The Criterion Collection.

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