Red Beard

"Terrible"

Red Beard Review


I'd never heard of Akira Kurosawa's Red Beard before the Criterion DVD showed up in the mail, but judging from the cover and the talent appearing in it, I expected a swashbuckling samurai flick -- maybe something about a red bearded pirate?

Would that I had done my research. Red Beard is a major miss in Kurosawa's distinguished career, a three-hour opus that can be best described as a protracted retelling of General Hospital in 19th century Japan.

Red Beard, it turns out, is the head doctor at the local clinic (played by veteran actor Toshirô Mifune). His movie comprises the largely unrelated stories of his underlings and their patients, and they couldn't be less enthralling. One crazy woman, after attacking the doctors, reveals that she was sexually abused as a child. One man retells a long story about a lost love, an earthquake, and her suicide. It has nothing to do with his case, but he wanted to get it off his chest before he died. Another woman has a strange obsession compelling her to scrub floors constantly.

Three hours later, what do we have to show for the investment of time? Something about the mortality of doctors vs. those they treat? Sickness of the mind vs. the body? Who knows -- the message is muddied under ham-fisted acting and ridiculous music cues. The script is all over the map, and while the direction is capable and full of flourish, it's hard to notice under the weight of the leaden story.

As the final collaboration between Kurosawa and Mifune, Red Beard often finds a sentimental home in the hearts of their fans. Don't be fooled into thinking this is a classic.

Aka Akahige.



Red Beard

Facts and Figures

Run time: 185 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 19th December 1968

Distributed by: Criterion Collection

Production compaines: Kurosawa Production Co.

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 1.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 75%
Fresh: 9 Rotten: 3

IMDB: 8.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Dr. Kyojio Niide, as Dr. Noboru Yasumoto, as Tokubei Izumiya, as The Mantis, as Sahachi, as Osugi, Miyuki Kuwano as Onaka, as Genzô Tsugawa, Terumi Niki as Otoyo, Akemi Negishi as Okuni, the mistress, as Chôji, as Dr. Handayû Mori, Eijirô Tôno as Goheiji, as Tokubei Izumiya, as Mr. Yasumoto, as Kin, the madam


Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

No Escape Movie Review

No Escape Movie Review

One of the strongest action thrillers in recent years, this gripping movie cleverly casts actors...

Ricki and the Flash Movie Review

Ricki and the Flash Movie Review

Meryl Streep is having so much fun playing an ageing rocker that the audience only...

The Transporter Refuelled Movie Review

The Transporter Refuelled Movie Review

Like James Bond, wilfully anonymous driver Frank Martin is reborn as a new actor without...

45 Years Movie Review

45 Years Movie Review

Like an antidote to vacuous blockbusters, this intelligent, thoughtful drama packs more intensity into a...

Advertisement
Straight Outta Compton Movie Review

Straight Outta Compton Movie Review

This biopic gallops through the career of groundbreaking gangsta rappers N.W.A, working its way through...

We Are Your Friends Movie Review

We Are Your Friends Movie Review

Basically the perfect summer movie, this lightweight drama has a great-looking cast and plenty of...

Sinister 2 Movie Review

Sinister 2 Movie Review

As the ghoul from the 2012 horror hit stalks a new family, this sequel's sharply...

Paper Towns Movie Review

Paper Towns Movie Review

After setting the scene with vivid characters and some insightful interaction, the plot of this...

Advertisement