As long as films are going to be remade (as trends suggest that they will), you could actually do worse than Rashomon. While it's unlikely that any reinterpretation will ever dethrone Akira Kurosawa's classic, its themes are universal enough that they can bear reexamination. To its credit, At The Gate Of The Ghost never pretends to be anything but an updating, taking the original set-up and dramatizing with the benefit of what must be a better budget and the technical resources of the modern day. Even if it doesn't make the same impression, it's a suitably sturdy interpretation.
At The Gate Of The Ghost opens by announcing that it was made for the glory of the Dharma, establishing a fairly somber tone from the beginning. After futzing around with a monk for a little while, the film settles into the business of the trial that he witnessed (then relates to several men in a cave). What he knows is this: a noble man was murdered and his wife ravaged after coming across a famous bandit in the forest. But who murdered him? Was his wife complicit? The accounts of the wife, the bandit, and a psychic channeling the spirit of the victim all differ. Somewhere in there is the truth, but it's nearly impossible to find in the fog of subjectivity.
Perhaps inevitably, the film starts to pick up momentum when it starts to imitate Rashomon almost beat for beat. Though the prior film had the benefit of Toshiro Mifune, it was limited by the dictates of its time period, and could only show so much. There are no such restraints here, and each of the possible iterations of the crime plays out with a grim horror, making all the more clear why they so disturb the monk. It may never become a classic of world cinema, but it’s unclear what At The Gate Of The Ghost wanted to add to the legacy.
There are two featurettes ("The Making Of A Legendary Story" and "Behind The Scenes") and the international trailer.
"At The Gate Of The Ghost" is on sale April 16, 2013 and is rated R. Drama. Starring Ananda Everingham, Chermal Boonyasak, Mario Maurer.