The Idiot

Director: Akira Kurosawa
Year Released: 1951
Rating: 1.0

Two men fight over women in this adaptation of Dostoyevsky's novel - one's brutish and self-confident, while the other is an epileptic (like Dostoyevsky?) whose 'simpleness' allows him to forego all the lies that plague modern relationships and speak clearly and directly. Even in three hours Kurosawa can't seem to squeeze in all that he wants to - the scenes are often long and formless and the transitions between them are abrupt (early in the first act, title cards fill in the details); in his defense, I'm not actually confident the book is 'filmable.' The effort is there, but it's honestly a mess, and I strongly doubt the missing hour of footage the studio cut from it would make it fascinating: yes, it does feature Kurosawa's brilliant visual sense, but like his version of Gorki's The Lower Depths, it's stagy and a chore to watch.