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23 April 2014

DVD Review: Seven Samurai (1954, Shichinin no samurai)


Genre:
Action, Drama History, World Cinema, Classic
Distributor:
BFI
Steelbook Release Date:
21st April 2014(UK)
Rating:PG
Director:
Akira Kurosawa
Cast:
ToshirĂ´ Mifune, Takashi Shimura, Keiko Tsushima
Buy:Seven Samuari (Blu-ray Steelbook) [DVD]

Let’s get straight to the point, Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai is a masterpiece. And I don’t say that lightly, for action cinema is not normally something I care for. But with a central theme concerning the opposing ideologies of individualism and socialism it is hard not to admire the film’s complexities. The story itself is quite straightforward with a farming community in sixteenth-century Japan hiring a group of samurai to protect their village from a pillaging band of bandits. The film dedicates much of its running time to character development and military strategy but not a moment of its three-and-a-half-hours feels unnecessary or out of place, with Kurosawa’s taut pacing, fluid camerawork, and dynamic editing driving the narrative forward. There is no doubt that Seven Samurai’s wonderful action sequences are what it is remembered for though, the most memorable being the climactic battle scene fought out in torrential rain and splattering mud as the farmers eradicate the few remaining bandits trapped by the tactically astute samurai.

★★★★★

Shane James

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