Gary Cruise’s review published on Letterboxd:
Seven Samurai is an action drama following a poor village under attack by bandits as they recruit seven unemployed samurai to help them defend themselves.
I know I’m just repeating what’s been said time and time again but seriously… this is a god damn masterpiece and one of the greatest films ever made. Seven Samurai tells a story that has been told again countless times since its 1954 release with many imitations, some of which are masterpieces in their own right, others not so much but one thing’s for sure, Akira Kurosawa’s first Samurai flick does the group of guys hired to fight bad guys premise perfectly with flawless execution that had me fully invested throughout. The 3 and a half hour runtime might be a bit daunting to some viewers, I mean, I’d always rather take a standard 90 minute runtime over 3 hours any day but I felt this extensive runtime was absolutely necessary and it never wastes a single second of it, justifying every frame and every plot point.
It’s expertly structured with the first half of the film being one build up to help us get to know what the threat is, the characters and the surroundings, and the second half introducing the more action heavy scenes that make the build up more than worth it. The cast continuously do a superb job with the biggest standout performances undeniably coming from Toshirô Mifune and Takashi Shimura, however, the entire cast, no matter how big or small their roles are, make the most of the fantastic material they’re given to work with. All of the characters are given fairly simple characteristics yet they’re so well written and directed to the point that they’re still all very interesting, making the drama elements more engaging and the action scenes more intense. The cinematography is phenomenal with inventive camera angles and techniques coming together to help capture the excitement and intensity of the action.
It makes incredible use of the beautiful location choices and set pieces, making them feel as though they’re just as big a part of the story as the characters themselves and never making them feel as though they’re just a simple backdrop. The final battle in the rain is on such an epic scale and is definitely the best example of how incredible the filmmaking is, with some unforgettable, beautiful and stylish imagery that always looks so crisp and so clean to the point it’s just mesmerising to watch. The soundtrack just elevates all of the wonderful cinematography even further thanks to the outstanding and highly influential score by Fumio Hayasaka, a score that never fails to capture the atmosphere and emotion of every single scene it’s used in so perfectly, always standing out in the process.
Overall, Seven Samurai is a film I’m glad I finally watched because it really does live up to its reputation as one of the greatest and most influential films of all time. Phenomenal cinematography with some truly beautiful imagery, a perfectly executed premise that has been imitated countless times, one of the greatest scores of all time, a terrific cast, it all comes together to create a huge cinematic achievement that kept me fully captivated by every second of its lengthy runtime. The perfect example of what a masterpiece looks like.
🗡🗡🗡🗡🗡 / 🗡🗡🗡🗡🗡