Red Beard is well meant and well made, no question about it. But it unfolds familiarly and, at 185 minutes, practically forever.
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As an elegy to a perfect fusion of directorial mastery and an actor’s indomitable screen presence, it’s hard to imagine something more memorable and affecting than Red Beard.
In Kurosawa’s dynamic yet intimate wide-screen filmmaking, practicality and empathy merge with psychoanalysis and even bits of magic; the young doctor’s near-fatal close encounter with a female serial killer, and a virtuous man’s deathbed confession of a horrifying marital tragedy, are among the sequences building to a genuinely inspirational conclusion.
I believe this film should be seen by every medical student. Like Kurosawa's masterpiece, "Ikiru" (1952), it fearlessly regards the meanings of life, and death.