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An Unmissable Classic
Seven Samurai (DVD)
Member Name: wampyrii
Seven Samurai (DVD)
Date: 27/09/01, updated on 27/09/01 (55 review reads)
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Akiro Kurosawa's "Seven Samurai" (aka Schichinin no Samurai) is one of those movies which you will never read a bad review of. It is widely regarded as the classic movie in the 'action' genre and the one which set the standard and the template for all modern action movies to follow. That said, one could never just accuse it of being solely an action movie, because it is so much deeper than that.
This movie has it all, which makes it difficult to know where to start. The actual plot itself is quite simple. Seven out of work samurai are hired by a small town which is having the life blood drained out of it by bandits. It was the first movie which took the formula of having a group of hard men assembled to solve the problems of a group of others and is a formula which has been much copied since. Of course, few, if any, have matched Kurosawa's superb direction because this man is an absolute genius. He knows exactly how to position a camera for maximum effect, and to put us in the place of the characters whilst at the same time never letting us in on the secret that this is what he is trying to do. Modern action movies have their dramtic poses, the lighting positioned perfectly to show every bulging muscle, every tough angular facial feature...but we know it and we have come to expect it. Not with Kurosawa, it is never obvious what he is doing unless you sit down and analyse the movie and then you truly see his genius. We are placed in the shoes of each character in the movie, made to feel their panic, their shame, their every emotion and we are spoken to by the other characters as if they were speaking to us. When one samurai's outburst exposes the un-samurai-like thoughts of the rest of the group it is like it is us he is bearing over, and we are looking up at him and when he leaves, the camera doesn't need to pan around to show us hanging our heads in shame with us as the voyeurs but instead focuses upon his feet as he turn
s to us again, because it is us who are shamed. Superb.
How many action movies can you name which feature flawless acting? Not many I am sure but this is one of them. Yes it is filmed in the Japanese language, and subtitled and oh dear yes, its in black and white, so if you are that narrow minded then please feel free to ignore this movie and miss out. If not, then you will see ths flawless acting. I have no idea who the actors are, have even less idea whether I have seen them in other movies, all I know is that their performances, each and every one of them is excellent. This is not a corny movie from the 50's, Kurosawa left that to Hollywood, and that is plain to see. We are not treated like idiots by this movie. we do not have to have a script which explains every detail five times over in an attempt to get the message through the cinemagoer's thick skull, because of course, film directors are far more intelligent than us and of course we couldn't possibly work out for ourselves what is going on unless it is written in 10ft high letters. Kurosawa doesn't treat us that way. A lot of the storyline is conveyed in symbolism and implication. Pay attention and you'll get far more out of it than if you do not. Of course you will be paying attention anyway because it'll grip you from the opening credits and refuse to let go until they close...but just in case.
I could go on, but everything about this movie is indeed virtually without flaw. The action scenes are good as well, and I beg you not to be put off by the age, the language barrier or the black and white footage. The first time I saw this movie it wasn't even subtitled and yet I loved it AND I knew exactly what was going on without having to be told, such is the quality of Kurosawa's direction. Trust me, this is one of the greatest movies made, a true classic and one which ought to be way up there on everyone's lists of top ten movies.