Seven Samurai

Seven Samurai ★★★★½

DirectorQuest: 45/100
Akira Kurosawa: 3/5

This is the nature of war: By protecting others, you save yourselves. If you only think of yourself, you'll only destroy yourself.

With this first-time viewing, and my first-time viewing of Apocalypse Now yesterday, I'm a certified big boy now. My cinephile license is just around the corner. I mean, what can I say about Seven Samurai? It's the ground upon which every action movie that came after it was built upon. This is the start of an entire new cinematic language. Any movie that was made afterwards that has anything to do with a team of heroes banding together to protect the innocent, it likely took something from here whether it knew it or not. I do hate to be the asshole that says Seven Samurai is too long, but I will just say that now to get it out of the way. That is my biggest, and really only notable complaint I have with the movie. Otherwise, it's electric and dramatic in a way many other movies before and after it could only dream of being. It's beautiful to look at, the settings of the film feel lush, the characters even moreso. Immediately, and I can say it without a single shred of over-exaggeration, Toshiro Mifune's performance in this is one of the best performances I have ever seen full stop. The character of Kikuchiyo is a great encapsulation of what makes this such an incredible work of art. At times, Kikuchiyo is energized. He cackles, skips around, screams, he's a feral wolf left loose and I loved every second of that. But, in other moments, that's stripped away and the latent energy makes way for something much sadder and filled with buried rage. His breakdown, and you know that moment if you've seen it, is one of the best single instances of acting and characterization I have seen from any movie. I could go on, but that really does sum it up. That is this movie. At times it's engaging in how intense and well-planned it is, other times it finds power in a slower pace and giving space for people to breathe. It's violent, it's passionate, it's not overrated in the slightest. It's art.


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