2021 Blind Spot Series: Seven Samurai

 

What I knew going in: The basic premise and all the inspirations that came after.

When a man overhears a group of bandits saying they're going to sack a small farming town after harvest, the townspeople hire samurai to protect them.

I'm not sure if there's a film on my Blind Spot lists I've put off like Seven Samurai. 3 and half hours of this is a COM.IT.MENT. I ended up having to watch this over the course of a few days but I'm very glad I finally did. I really ended up loving this.

The run time was always what put me off but in the end, I'm glad it was long. I loved that we really got to see the day to day of the townspeople and how the samurai come together and get to know each other. Most movies would cram all of this into a musical montage, but seeing it all play out was nice.

I can definitely see where a lot of movies take inspiration from this, which is one of my favorite parts of watching these older films.

If I had any issues with it, it's that some of the acting is very dated and over the top and that's always a bit hard to get used to. I also recommend not splitting this up over the course of a few days because I was constantly forgetting character's names. 

Recommended: Yes

Grade: A-

Memorable Quote: "The farmers have won. Not us." - Kambei (Takashi Shimura)

Comments

  1. Many Kurosawa films are a commitment of time, it's the reason I've yet to watch Ran and Ikiru, but so far they've always been worth the investment.

    That said this isn't my favorite of his films that I've seen, High & Low and Rashomon pulled me in more, but it is a powerful picture and you can definitely see shadows of the other films it inspired.

    Perhaps it would have more of an impact on me had I not seen The Magnificent Seven first, be that as it may it is an essential viewing experience.

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    Replies
    1. I haven't seen The Magnificent Seven, so I'm glad I was able to experience this first. A commitment is right.

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    2. The original Magnificent Seven (I never bothered with the 2016 remake. I've heard it was derivative and dull-why try and reinvent the wheel?) is quite kinetic and tense. It's still long, a bit over 2 hours but not as big a time investment as Seven Samurai.

      If you want to explore more Kurosawa there are several that aren't nearly as long. Rashomon is under an hour and a half and Sanjuro and Drunken Angel just over that mark.

      But I really want to recommend High and Low. It's long (almost 2 1/2 hours) but gripping and unlike a lot of his work set in contemporary times (well the 60's when it was made) and based on an Ed McBain novel.

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    3. 2 and a half isn't bad. It's when a movie goes over 3 that I have to really decide if I want to commit lol. I'll have to check it out!

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  2. There's several films of Kurosawa that are long but they're often worth it. Films were slower then yet one of the things that makes Kurosawa so revered is how he used time and how he uses it to develop characters or a setting. This is my favorite film of Kurosawa and everything you see in that film, you know where many of the tropes of modern-day action cinema comes from. It is a lot of commitment to watch Kurosawa films but they're often rewarding. Other films of his like Ran, Kagemusha, The Hidden Fortress, Dersu Uzala, and Red Beard are among his longest and they do take a lot of commitment but it is worth it as these are films where you just take your time in watching them and allow yourself to be invested in the story. I've seen nearly 2/3 of his body of work with so much more to go. He is a giant in cinema.

    I was worried about what you thought about it as I am aware you're not into long films but I'm glad you really liked this.

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    Replies
    1. It's not that I'm not into long movies, it's just that I *really* have to want to see something to commit that time. Movies that are going to pass 3 hours better be entertaining me the entire time, and thankfully this did. I'll have to check out more of his work.

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  3. YES!!!! So glad you liked this. What a classic. You have me itching to see it again!

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