Seven Samurai

Seven Samurai ★★★★★

So I was scrolling around on HBO Max and I found this tiny little film called Seven Samurai directed by this very obscure director named Akira Kurosawa that I have never heard anyone talk about. I finished it and it was pretty neat ngl, more people should talk about this movie. Check it out if you haven't seen it!

In all seriousness, Seven Samurai is highly regarded as one of the greatest, most important, and most influential films not just from foreign countries, but in the whole world. It was highly important for the careers of some of the greatest directors of all time like Steven Speilberg, George Lucas, Francis Ford Coppola and Martin Scorsese. You pretty much never see a list of the greatest films of all time without Seven Samurai being somewhere near the top. So as you can expect, I had beyond high expectations going into this. But I'll be honest, I don't even think god himself telling me that this film is fantastic could have prepared for just how epic and monstrous this film truly feels to watch for the first time. Aside from maybe The Godfather Part 2, I don't think I have ever felt so much like I have witnessed something so indescribable and epic after a film has finished as much as I did when finishing Seven Samurai. This film holds the new record for the longest movie I have seen, clocking in at 3 hours and 27 minutes. Usually when a film is long and I don't complain about the runtime, it's because the film is paced so well that it doesn't feel anywhere near as long as it actually is. Heat, The Wolf Of Wall Street, and The Good The Bad And The Ugly are some great examples of a film feeling nowhere near as long as its runtime is. However, that's not really the case with Seven Samurai. Unlike those films I just mentioned, you DO feel the runtime when you are watching Seven Samurai. All 3 hours and 27 minutes are felt when you watch it. On the surface, that may seem like a bad thing, but for Seven Samurai, it's actually not. Despite the fact many scenes feel extraordinarily long, nothing that is happening in these scenes are unnecessary. Kurosawa takes his time with perfectly crafting each scene to make every moment of it have some importance to the plot, characters, or action. As a result, instead of thinking " Oh my god this is so long and I'm bored as hell!" you actually think " Oh my god this is so long and it's so epic!!". Something that really helps the film feel epic is the camerawork. It is no secret that Kurosawa's films have gorgeous cinematography and camerawork, but it is taken to a whole new level in this film. The last shot is a candidate for being my favorite of all time. Kurosawa's direction is perfect here, and I don't know if a movie has ever felt more perfectly controlled by a director than this one. Then we come to the performances....... oh my god. Everyone is fantastic here. There is such a wide variety of character emotions displayed throughout the film, and it makes for a very realistic feeling world. All of the seven samurai feel fleshed out and important, and each has at least one character trait about them that makes them memorable. I can't touch on all of them right here, but I do want to talk about Kikuchiyo for a second. To put it in simple terms, he is one of the single greatest characters in the history of cinema. He is so well written, and is given so much complexity that really makes for a fascinating character. Toshiro Mifune's performance really helps that a lot. In the other 2 Kurosawa movie I've seen (Rashomon and Throne Of Blood), Mifune's characters felt a little one noted. Now that's not a bad thing in those movies, but if someone where to ask me to describe those characters, it would be pretty easy. "What was he like in Throne Of Blood?" "Oh he was absolutely haunting and paranoid." "Well what was he like in Rashomon?" " He was absolutely psychotic." But if someone said "What was he like in Seven Samurai?", my reply would sound more like "Oh well he was really wild...... and also kind of funny..... and he was kind of an asshole...... but he was also really sympathetic...... but he was also very heroic.... but also very dumb." He's so much more complex than almost any other character I have seen, and Mifune's fantastic performance elevates that. It also helps he has one of the best character arcs of all time. The score is absolutely fantastic. You don't even realize just how important the score was to so many scenes until after you finish the movie and reflect on it. I als really love the screenplay. This films influence on movies like Star Wars can not be overlooked, and if you're someone who doesn't really love Seven Samurai, I think everyone has to at least respect it for all that it has done for modern cinema. I am just at a loss for words when discussing this movie. It has so many things worth discussing that simply can not be justified in just one letterboxd review. What I will say though, is that this film has officially cracked my top 10, and I bet it will stay there for a long time. It will probably be quite a long time before I ever watch this again, but that's ok, because this film is one of the every few that remains special and, for the last time............................. epic.

Also I wish I was as cool as Kambei.

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