Seven Samurai (1954) Film Review

Seven Samurai is a massive, ambitious and influential film that made many common plot elements today what they are. But, does that mean it’s actually a great film? In my opinion, no, not so much. A decent one and an important one that everyone should watch but not necessarily a great one. The movie is long. Much too long in my opinion. It’s three hours and twenty minutes about, and never does that time seem totally worth it. The characters aren’t very compelling which makes me have trouble with actually getting attached to the story itself even if it is interesting. None of the characters for the most part go beyond a surface level of character development which leads me to not caring about a whole lot that is going on. That’s not to say the movie is awful.

The movie is ambitious and is incredible especially for it’s release date, I’m sure almost nothing of it’s kind existed beforehand. The movie is massive as I stated before and is filled with many action set pieces that still hold up fairly well today. It is a period piece as well, taking place in 1587 in the Warring States Period of Japan and seems to do a good job portraying samurai which are pretty much cool and interesting by default but that doesn’t mean the characters themselves are good. A village of farmers goes to hire samurai to protect them from bandits, they hire a total of seven, if it wasn’t obvious enough for the title. The plot is interesting and compelling but again, it doesn’t really matter.

I don’t care about the people in the movie, at least for the most part. And that remains to be my biggest issue. A movie like this needs characters that I at least sort of care about. Probably one of my biggest comparisons to this movie is The Thin Red Line, a Terrence Malick movie which I really like Terrence Malick for the most part. It’s a war movie that barely focuses on the characters so I don’t really care about anything that is going on. I felt pretty much the same during this movie. Overall, Seven Samurai is still a very important film and a mildly interesting one but that doesn’t mean it needs to be held as one of the greatest films of all time like it is, because frankly, it doesn’t hold up as well as everyone thinks.

3.5/5 stars.

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