Melissa McDowell’s review published on Letterboxd:
So much to love about this film. Toshiro Mifune’s crazy emoting is at the top of this list for me. I adore him when he’s making kids laugh. I adore him when he’s schooling samurai on the hardships of farmers. I adore him when he’s breaking down while saving a small child because he relates too much. I adore him when he refuses to leave the burial mounds out of guilt. I adore him when he uses sheer grit to overcome a bullet wound and kill his own murderer. His physicality is unmatched. He is a force on screen and you can’t take your eyes off him. He is the perfect foil to Takashi Shimura’s brilliant Shimada, the personification of honour, nobility and leadership—the stoic with a compassionate streak a mile wide. Genius actors, both of them. I love that this is a film that simulateously argues for the importance of the collective above all, while still making us feel the loss of each individual samurai. This is rich storytelling and gorgeous cinematography. And on top of all this, we get Bokuzen Hidari’s incredible mugging as Yohei—if anyone in the history of film has ever pulled better faces than Hidari, that’s news to me.