Seven Samurai

Seven Samurai ★★★★★

Seven Samurai is a monument intimidating to behold. It’s gargantuan timespan is baffling to contemplate, but as ludicrous as it is, there isn’t a second misspent. The picture is filled with complex compositions, intricate battle choreography, a whopping amount of characters with distinguished and well-built personalities, drama and humor, the flower of love and the cry of death. It is a cinematic microcosm of themes and genres that has the sole struggle of leaving the viewer craving for more (and I mean that in a good way). 

There are so many individual stories that overlap in Seven Samurai, but Katsushiro and Shino’s bittersweet romance, and especially their scenes in the spellbinding grove, are my favorites. Mifune’s tour-de-force performance as the cynical spitfire samurai with a rural origin is another major highlight.

The most stunning thing about this film may be the fact that its plot is way smaller than one figures by its length, it’s no more than recruiting and protecting a village with a timespan of several weeks. There are shorter movies that span decades, lifetimes even. But the weeks that we spend with the Samurai and the village are a part of something bigger, more honorable than that of a mere lifespan. It is the tale of big sacrifices for small rewards, of the grief and struggle of the everyday soldier and farmer, of the human condition from the perspective of war. 

Seven Samurai is not about the catharsis that a battle brings, but the painstaking loss of time and friends that come along with the sweet fruits of victory.

Kurosawa Ranked

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