by: Roman Parham
So often a movie heralded as one of the greats can fall short to modern cinema’s expectations but Akira Kurosawa’s “Seven Samurai” is a stark outlier. This film cements itself as one of the staples of Japanese cinema, and one of the most influential pieces of the last century. Every shot of this movie, detailing the experience of seven swords for hire and their job protecting a small rice village in Japan, is thoughtfully composed. The cinematography by the late Asakazu Nakai is visually captivating, and his unromanticized view of such a violent and harsh world allows for an immersive watch experience. Kurosawa uses this world, and complex characters to give commentary on social caste, poverty, violence, and shinto philosophy in japanese societies. At a run time of over three hours, the film retains the ability to keep its viewer’s attention, through sweeping action shots over ransacked environments, or duels between bandit and samurai, in a western stand-off fashion. The violence is never random or meaningless, and each fight holds weight in what happens next. Seven Samurai begins with shots of the village they’re contracted to protect. These people live honest, yet hard lives worthy of defending. Kurosawa shows us what is at stake while simultaneously adding depth to the film’s world. Each of the samurai have different reasons for protecting this village but they are connected through one goal. Throughout the movie, Kurosawa expertly balances enthralling action with a strong emotional climax to craft a film that can truly be classified as an epic. Each of the Samurai have their own distinctive personalities, some gentle and some heartless, which often contrast with each other in entertaining, argumentative and curt dialogue. Seven Samurai proves to be one of Kurosawa’s best works and I’d give it a 8/10.