Saturday, July 08, 2006

Seven Samurai

Shichinin no Samurai
Toho Studios
Director: Akira Kurosawa
Length: 208 min.
Country: Japan
Format: 35mm
Date Viewed: 6 July 06

Kurosawa's Seven Samurai is the grandaddy of the modern action film and remains one of the best examples of how to do the genre right. This near-perfect epic is a full 3 1/2 hours in length, yet it feels shorter than most contemporary two hour Hollywood films. Kurosawa keeps the pace at top speed, while occasionally slowing down just enough to efficiently build a high amount of character and drama, allowing us to easily invest in the many memorable characters at the film's core. The action scenes are intense and exciting, but the examination of the Japanese sense of inter-caste relations and fulfilling one's duty regardless of the cost, as well as the more universal themes of processing loss and sacrifice, and wartime fear and paranoia are what make the film so compelling. If you skip this one because of length, black-and-white photography or subtitles (I have a real hard time respecting film opinions of anyone who expresses a preference against "having to read a film" - my least favorite phrase in the English language), then you're making a big mistake; it may or not be Kurosawa's best (Yojimbo gives it a run for its money), but regardless, this one is essential viewing.


Blogger Belisha said...

If there are people say they avoid a film just because of the subtitles, I don't know what I could say to them. That bugs me a lot, actually.

13 July, 2006 09:00  

Post a Comment

<< Home