curtis’s review published on Letterboxd:
I went into Seven Samurai expecting to be excited by the action and overall style, but this is so much more of a purely human film than I ever could have imagined which is something I should've expected from Kurosawa at this point. This is perhaps the most straight faced and transparent presentation for a Kurosawa film that i've seen. It's a large scale epic that impresses through its narrative scope alone, but it's the depiction of clashing societal perspectives that really carries everything along to a state of true poignancy. It's definitely thematically simplistic, but the way that it grows throughout feels natural and authentic. Like I said, this is a very human film and it always prioritizes that aspect over anything else, all of which stems from the great character interactions themselves which allows each personality to shine through and fully develop. The film does definitely feel like a 3+ hour long adventure though, and while I do think everything that it tries to say could've been condensed and trimmed to a more manageable running time, it also works to service the story and feel as though you've spent real time with these characters. It's sort of a double edged sword, but I still think it (mostly) works overall to the film's advantage. If anything, all of this time spent with these characters just serves to heighten the impact of the final battle, as well as the stinger of a final line.
Kurosawa doesn't try anything overly showy with the thematic content here, and yet the sprawling narrative itself still houses enough pieces of its thesis to feel impactful by the end - not to mention exciting and surprisingly hilarious at times. Seven Samurai is a film that earns its influential status through timeless themes of societal perspective, class, and duty all acting as a backdrop to this frequently engaging, fully developed epic.