Sunday, August 31, 2008

Seven Samurai

Akira Kurosawa, 1957, Japan, bw (10*)
This masterful samurai epic (well over 3 hrs) is really a treatise on medieval war tactics. The story is about a small farming village that annually gets invaded and robbed by a small cavalry gang, usually just after harvest, when they steal most of the food but leave the villagers just enough for survival. Eventually they’ve had enough, and send a few men into a nearby town to recruit unemployed and disgraced samurai, led by master actor Tishiro Mifune, to help them defend themselves; they find seven in all.

The first half is slow but told with lots of humor, the second half is an exciting war exercise and a primer on how action films should look. The innovative camerawork had never been seen, and influenced every action film since. Blurred action, filmed during a rainstorm with mud and water flying (see photo below), rapid edits, handheld cameras, and extreme closeups - the viewer feels thrown headlong into the middle of the action itself. Retold as western The Magnificent Seven, and the sci-fi film, Battle Beyond the Stars. Kurosawa’s masterpiece is one of the best in cinema history.

Now #2 (rising from 7th) all-time on our compendium of Top Ranked 1000 Films on the Net, 2011 Edition


Murtaza Ali March 7, 2012 at 11:41 PM  

A very pithy review of an incredibly brilliant motion picture. With Seven Samurai Kurosawa left an indelible mark on the world of cinema.

Please do also checkout my review of Seven Samurai:

Jose Sinclair January 5, 2013 at 12:24 PM  

I know people don't read my intro or purpose, but my goal here is to get people to view these films and NOT to describe every scene and plot development, etc.. like Roger Ebert doing an 8 pg review so that when you're finished you have no surprises remaining and lose interest in the film.. I'm sure I could spend a week on this review and write a book, but that would bore me and the INTERNET age.. I've been on the net since 1980 and the average amt of time spent per SITE is 19 seconds in the US, and only 25 seconds in the country w the longest avg time, France..
With that in mind, if you write a review longer than a minute, over half the viewers will leave it before finishing.. so you can be as academic and thorough as you feel like you should, and you are just writing for yourself and a few friends.. I did't get over 1 million visitors and 2 million page views by emulating 'serious critics'..


ps - I read your review, nothing I didn't see about this in the 50's, but I've been around a long time, most think the internet started in the mid 90s..


Jose Sinclair January 5, 2013 at 12:25 PM  

PS- This film, and Kurosawa, are in my top 5 - he's my co-favorite director along with Kubrick, but over-dissection is fruitless for today's net denizens..

Anonymous,  May 13, 2015 at 7:11 PM  

Jose don't worry about the haters.
He is a poor critic.
The rest of us appreciate what you're doing, you are a sage of the net.

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These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.

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