Erik’s review published on Letterboxd:
Thoughts from what I can't believe was only my first time viewing:
I have now seen a film that has almost everything going for it. There's wonderful amounts of humor, but also an overarching melencholy that seeps throughout every frame. There's a few weighty (if dated) action set pieces, but also a wonderful romance that leaves quite an impact. There's a great depiction of friendship and, as per usual in a Kurosawa joint, a haunting account of human cruelty.
The film is over three hours long, but paced perfectly and never feels its length. It's chock full of stuff going on, but never hard to follow. Watching it today, I can't help but think of these universe-buildng superhero movies that Hollywood has been churning out recently. Films that, while technically impressive, feel too long and too overstuffed. They're huge films that don't work, due to their size.
SEVEN SAMURAI, despite being nearly seventy years old, feels like a better version of a modern Hollywood superhero film. The universe they occupy seems vast, the characters are all strong and the stakes all lie in protecting the innocent. However, instead of shoveling in bullshit "world building techniques", the film allows the characters to explore the physical, and political landscape of 14th century Japan. The world feels big due to the cinematography, travelling scenes and constant strife between characters. The heroes are complex, but not fake Snyder Superman complex. They feel like real people, with weaknesses, insecurities and joy. And the stakes are absolutely, 100 percent felt. Every life matters.
I don't know, this was one long ramble, but I wanted to say something not a lot of people have been saying. This film deserves to have its praises sung in as many ways as possible. It's simply amazing.