Seven Samurai

Seven Samurai ★★★★★

so, i finally watched akira kurosawa’s most acclaimed and loved film seven samurai. i am not going to lie i was pretty intimidated by this monster of a film. i had only heard praise and love for this film and was worried that i would be disappointed. fortunately, all of my worries were foolish and unnecessary as this is utterly fantastic in every way. 

previously, before watching seven samurai, i had already fallen head over heals for many of kurosawa’s films. i’ve already talked about my love for ran and high and low but recently i also watched ikiru which completely blow me away. it was extremely emotional and powerful with one of the best performances i have ever seen (takashi shimada). it instantly became my favourite kurosawa film (if not for very long) and is one of my favourite films of all time. 

like i have said, i was very worried that this film would disappoint me and before watching it i was certain that it couldn’t top ikiru but yet it did. first of all, one of the main reasons this film intimidated me was the length. now, i’m not to shy on long films, but for some reason i just didn’t think it could hold my interest for 3 and a half hours. obviously, i had no real reason to think this way and after just finishing the film, it honestly was the perfect length with fantastic pace and constant momentum. i was wondering when the samurai got to the town and saw how long was left what they were going to do. but it just held my interest with fantastic performances, cinematography and character development. 

when talking about the characters and performances, each one is just as astonishing as the other. in rashomon, i did sometimes find mifune a little one dimensional but in this, his character is far stronger than just a loud fool. he is far more interesting and is looked at more closely than compared to rashomon. we learn about where he came from and how that affects his views and knowledge on others, he’s far more emotional with other characters having a large say on his personality and feelings at the time. mifune also brings so much effort and enthusiasm to the role that you can’t help but love him. whenever emotion is needed he always nailed it and just seeing him rolling around in the mud, giving it his all is just incredibly watchable. 

after watching ikiru, i also discovered takashi shimura who is just the best. from playing a small, old and weak character to a wise, strong and powerful leader just proves his diversity and range as an actor. his expressions are always perfect and even though i think his performance in ikiru is the best performance i’ve seen in any kurosawa film, he still is awesome here. i also have to mention daisuke katô who was extremely funny and entertaining in literally every scene. 

this film is also extremely well shot with excellent choreography. the action sequences just wouldn’t be the same without the clear effort and understanding of where each scene will lead to. from horses kicking out backwards to actors flying across the scream, everyone involved is giving it there all and it really helps sell every sequence. the cinematography is also stunning with many absolutely marvellous shots. i don’t want to spoil any but some are etched into my mind because sheer beauty of them. 

the costume and overall production of this film was also great. you really get a great sense of the geology of this town. with the help of maps and clear communication, you begin to understand each location in compassion to another. this really helps for a satisfying experience and just makes you feel far more involved in the story. all of the barns and houses looked lived in and never once took me out of the film. the costumes were extremely recognisable and really distinguished the two sides. 

the music was also amazing and perfectly used. there is a wide range of different pieces which all fit the film extremely well. the main theme of the film defiantly stood out and i can remember it even after the film. the direction and writing were obviously masterful. kurosawa just clearly knows how to get the most out of each actor and has a great sense of tension and build up. no scene was ever dull or felt unnecessary and you can tell that everyone is wanting to impress him.  

this is a absolute treat of a film and something which i totally understand, and agree with having an incredibly high status. this is one of the best films i have ever seen and is instantly a new favourite. i don’t give these out very often but i think this deserves a near max rating. kurosawa, if you weren’t already, you are now easily one of my favourite directors and i’m looking forward to seeing more of his work. what a way to kick of the new year.

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