Red Beard - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Red Beard Reviews

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February 9, 2013
review coming later.
February 6, 2013
Tal vez no sea la mas grande y majestuosa pelicula del maestro Akira Kurosawa, pero fu la primera que vi y qued cautivado y conmovido, le tengo especial cario a esta pelicula. Barbaroja es the ultimate sempai, interpretado magistralmente por Toshiro Mifune.
February 3, 2013
Is there a more inspiring film than "Red Beard"? Akira Kurosawa's last masterpiece with his greatest actor Toshiro Mifune is set during 19th century Japan. Mifune plays Red Beard, a village doctor who has a new trainee Yasumoto (Kayama); the trainee has dreams of becoming the physician of the Shogun and resents his assignment to a rural clinic whose head is Red Beard. I had only seen it once before, but gradually started declaring it my favorite film along with Martin Scorsese's "Taxi Driver". The second viewing was just as great; I actually cried more than once, and when I was finished I saw the very end again the next day and it melted me even more. The story is very simple; another director would not have drenched out its full potential, but a grandmaster like Kurosawa musters every little detail with ease. There are great directors who may show-off their ability to compose a shot; images where we can easily recognize their singularity, they pop out at you. Kurosawa never shows off. In "Red Beard," if you look closely you can see the position of his actors, where the light is, etc. The choreography of a specific frame seems natural. Not something created by an artist, yet we still know it is. Every single shot in this film is perfect! Mifune's performance as the older doctor is obviously wonderful; there is a distinct light or an aura in his eyes that isn't in his other roles. His Red Beard is a God-like figure: he controls everything; he is all-knowing, all-caring. I'm sure if God existed and knew Red Beard, he would be ashamed and baffled that such a man could exist; someone so good who finds mistakes in himself, who doesn't care for wealth or money and who can point out what's right or wrong in a human being. Even though I am singing praises of Red Beard, there are many other tremendous characters and the splendid performances of their actors. Kayama as the young doctor, Terumi Niki as Otoyo, and the little boy whose name I can't find deliver unbelievable performances! Not to mention the several other minor characters. Kurosawa is so clever that he surprises the audience with Takashi Shimura and Ozu's favorite Chishu Ryo in small roles. Shimura's character especially leaves an imprint on my mind; his chemistry with Mifune was amazing even if it was just for one scene. Very much like "Seven Samurai," it's not Mifune's film; "Red Beard" belongs to every single actor in it; there are just so many characters you can admire and relate to. I really don't understand why this particular Kurosawa was never given its due; it's always "Seven Samurai," "Rashomon," "Ikiru," or some of his other great ones. I actually think it's a much better humanist tale than "Ikiru," it's far more polished technically, there are more characters, has a world much more appealing than the cold city life; I just find it more dynamic. At the same time "Red Beard" is as patient as Mifune attempting several times to give medicine to the young girl and finally succeeding. One criticism of the film I've heard is that it's too bent on being hopeful or we know what will happen. To some extent I agree, but I could make the same case for "Ikiru" or "Seven Samurai". This film is so great because it conquers all its would-be flaws. Lastly, this masterpiece creates an urge in me to be with Red Beard himself. All I desire is to follow him, to walk with him and go wherever he needs to go, whoever he needs to treat. All I wish is to be of some assistance.

P.S. I still don't feel comfortable putting it ahead of "Seven Samurai" as Akira Kurosawa's best, but it is close enough.
January 23, 2013
In a small Japanese village, a young man (Yuzo Kayama) is on the final stages of complete his education to become a doctor and is under the leadership of Dr. Kyojo Niide (Toshiro Mifune). He then goes through the village and tends to those who need assistance and at the same time, they recall their lives, in his presence, that had and had not lead to their current condition (some became ill due to natural causes and others due to natural disasters). Not anywhere near one of director Akira Kurosawa's best, but it does show a sensitive, different side to the master for which he should be given credit for. The performances are good and so is the photography, but it just doesn't contain the same magic or pace as prior films have. It is a good Kurosawa film, not a great one.
December 2, 2012
Mifune is amazing in this one. Sad to know this is the last collaboration between Mifune and Kurosawa.
½ December 2, 2012
Toshiro Mifune and Akira Kurosawa are amazing.
October 14, 2012
He watched this one too, check out his page for reviews.
½ September 19, 2012
a long and slow film worth watching for the genius of Toshiro Mifune
September 18, 2012
I found the first half incredible, and the second half a little stretched and meandering, but overall, this is a great film. Kurosawa has some of his greatest camerawork here, and the acting is unbelievably powerful. There are many scenes that stick out in my mind, and yet the film as a whole doesn't seem to be as great as these particular scenes. Is it the length? I suppose. Seven Samurai was just as long and I was enraptured every second, and the films aren't too dissimilar. I don't know, it hardly matters. The film is yet another (and last) fantastic collaboration between Toshiro Mifune and Kurosawa, and it's just as much a testament to their collaborative greatness as any other movie.
Super Reviewer
½ September 12, 2012
Japanese movie, Japanese actors, Japanese sets and locations, so why does this film feel as if were shot on the Warner Brothers backlot? Yet it does AND like they did it, say, in the late 40's or early 50's. An arrogant young doctor learns humility thanks to charismatic elder sawbones. There's a ton of subplots too, and minor characters, but all in all still engaging.
August 19, 2012
Liked it at times, but not as a whole.
August 9, 2012
no dr kildare but a look a japense medicine in the 1800's.
½ August 7, 2012
Akira Kurosawa(TM)s last black and white film, Red Beard, follows a storyline similar to Bernard mond(TM)s La Donation. The themes are similar, although the Japanese work develops more slowly and is more lyrical. A doctor with aspirations of serving Japan(TM)s royal court is sent to a small clinic in a poor village. Unlike Dr. Dion, who chose to accept a one month posting in Norm (C)tal, Dr. Yasumoto is tricked into reporting to the iconic Dr. Niide (a.k.a. Red Beard?) and initially refuses the position. Over time, he comes to respect Red Beard, his pragmatic viewpoint, and his effective manner of dealing with patients.

The deliberate camera work is patient and affords many opportunities for symbolism. The backdrop for the opening credits is the rooftops of the clinic and the town, showing how society looks down on the poor. Kurosawa often lights the scene so the shadows of the doctors, nurses, and patients are visible. It(TM)s as if their physical bodies are complemented by their spiritual souls. As he does in all of his films, the weather represents when the plot becomes complicated in addition to the conflict inside Dr. Yamoto. Snow falls to show when his conscience is clear.

Everyone in the film comes from a different background, some with skeletons - literally - in the closet. Everyone has a second chance to redeem themselves. Life may not be fair but one can only carry on and do their best. Red Beard(TM)s devotion to the citizens of the small town convinces Dr. Yamoto to change his career path; although he understands that he will have no money and no honour, he still wishes to serve the poor. Seeing the progress of the ill patients inspires him to help more.

To me, the most memorable moment is when the doctors make a house call to a girls with syphilis. The family and neighbours refuse to send her to the clinic. Red Beard bluntly tells them: A bad doctor can kill you. I won(TM)t kill you but I will break some arms and legs.? The men subsequently step outside and the doctor gives the intransigent strangers a thorough beating to straighten them out. Then he orders his two interns to bandage the injured and find a cart to carry the seriously wounded to the clinic. I might have gone too far,? Red Beard reflects.

The film develops characters slowly and consistently. There are comedic moments, emotional scenes, and even though it is not The Seven Samurai, a clever action sequence. Similar to how Torn Curtain was the end of an amazing filmmaking partnership (Hitchcock and Hermann), Red Beard is the last time that Kurosawa worked with Toshirô Mifune. Mifune played so many iconic roles (the businessman, the beggar, the bandit) yet he always altered his performance so that he was not merely portraying an archetype. In this film, he could have made Red Beard the stereotypical mentor but his gruff but sensitive mannerism and steely eyes (Christian Bale could learn from this) shaped a truly memorable character.
½ July 10, 2012
The scene with Crazy Lady is brilliant, but by the third hour most of the dialogue is spoken by children. Kurosawa was smart to almost never work with children...
July 6, 2012
حث ا?... ا ...ا ب (R)صش ....:))))
May 18, 2012
"Red Beard" is now my first favourite film of the grand master Akira Kurosawa. This movie is my dream and inspiration. The story has a lot of details and characters that sometimes need to be cut, anyway, they are still good altogether. Just the music is so bad it's obviously great, because Western score doesn't fit to the old Japanese movie.
½ April 12, 2012
A great film about life and death, love and sadness, health and disease, showing how everything is interrelated. Beautiful!
March 21, 2012
The relationship between a doctor and his protege in a hospital for the poor makes for great drama in Kurosawa's expert hands. Mifune and Kayama give very humane performances.
½ February 2, 2012
A young doctor finds himself working in a clinic that does not meet his aspirations, and dislikes Red Beard, the doctor in charge. The story told is so very believable as the young man finds that he was wrong in almost all his first impressions. Lovely story.
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