Seven Samurai

Seven Samurai ★★★★★

Though I once described Citizen Kane as possibly being so, I'm hesitant to call one particular film the best film ever made, since it is such a bold statement, and film is so subjective that being the greatest could mean a multitude of things to different people. Does it need to be formally unrivaled? Does it need to resonate with you personally? Does it need to strike a balance of technical prowess and being a great piece of entertainment? Maybe all or none of those. My favourite films may not be perfect to everyone who watches them, but they tick all the right boxes for me, some of which may never occur to others. Perfection, as is beauty, is in the eye of the beholder, and I generally disagree with the notion that a single best film could possibly exist.

Having said that, Seven Samurai might be the best film I've ever seen.

It has everything. Literally everything. It's masterfully directed, with exhilarating camerawork, powerfully expressive performances (Toshirō Mifune alone is worth at least three stars), an extensive lineup of distinctive and layered characters, a gracefully satisfying mix of humour, drama and action, it has strongly explored themes of violence, identity, morality and the human psyche. Perhaps above all else, it's incredibly entertaining from beginning to end, all 207 minutes of it! Especially stunning for a picture that is 65 years old, but it remains endlessly riveting as we are close to entering the 2020s.

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