Monday, April 14, 2008

Seven Samurai (Shichinin no samurai) (1954)

I was surprised to say the least that one of the Nittians reviewed Japanese director Akira Kurosawa without including Seven Samurai. Mark my words, there can be no bigger mistake than this.

On the other hand, it reminded me to write that review I always wanted to before someone else does. Lucky me.

Seven Samurai, most of us will know as the movie which influenced Sholay. I picked up the DVD at the County Library only because of that.

Hardly 10 minutes into the film, I knew this wasn't an ordinary film - there was a magical touch to the direction and the screenplay. I promptly Wikipedia'ed it - and lo - it features in many Top Ten lists as an all time great. I was really excited. Here was a film worthy of watching and an acclaimed one.

The first half is wonderful - the villagers convincing the samurais, their antics, Toshiro Munife's monkey-acting are so natural. The best of all is Takashi Shimura, the leader of the pack. His performance is par excellence, it flows so well taking the movie along with it.

The second half, like most movies, is slower than the first half. Nevertheless it makes for great viewing; the love story between the young samurai and the boy-like farmer's daughter is subtle; the night-scenes, very difficult to shoot in those days, are awesome. The ending is slightly tragic, like Sholay, and the final scenes with the mounds for the samurai brought tears to my eyes(no, not crocodile tears).

Overall, it is a film I would recommend to any movie buff. I did so to my friends, who reprimanded me for hyping it up - it so happened they got together and didn't progress beyondn the 30 minute mark. They don't have the taste of Shichinin no samurai.

Bottom line: Ultimate classic.

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