Get a Free E-Book! ($50 Value)
HIRE A WRITER!
Paper Types
Disciplines
Get a Free E-Book! ($50 Value)

Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai, Movie Review Example

Pages: 1

Words: 1260

Movie Review

Introduction

The 1954 film, Seven Samurai, from director Akiro Kurosawa, is best known to popular culture through the 1960 American version of The Magnificent Seven. While that Western by John Sturges received great acclaim and was very popular, for some time it eclipsed the Kurosawa movie. Fortunately, as years passed, both Kurosawa and his film received their due, and Seven Samurai has gone on to attain a cult following, as well as the status of a modern classic in film-making.

The story, set in Kurosawa’s native Japan, is nearly a fable. A poor village in the 16th century is harassed and looted by bandits, who ravage their rice crops. A village elder turns for help to a legendary Samurai warrior on the decline. This warrior has a good heart, as well as a desire to prove himself again, and he agrees to to help. He gathers five other warriors, who are compensated with three simple meals a day, which is all the village can afford. Another man seeks to join the small band of fighters, but is dismissed.

When the Samurai enter the village, they are feared by the people. Only a trick by Kikuchiyo, the rejected man, works in bringing about acceptance and gratitude from the villagers. Strategies are then planned, along with teaching the farmers how to defend themselves. In the end, the village triumphs, even as both their enemies and the Samurai themselves are casualties of the battles.

Review

As with any simple tale worked in the hands of a master, Seven Samurai has many layers of story and meaning, from beginning to end. It exists to satisfy almost any taste in movies; the fierce warriors and the raids please the lover of action films, there is romance for those drawn to love stories, and there are powerful statements made about humanity for those interested in deep, reflective film-making. All of these elements, however, flow together in Kurosawa’s film as they do in real life.

From the start of the movie, it seems that Kurosawa deliberately chose his time period and his setting because they are as fundamental as human life can be, in terms of community. These are simple, poor people struggling for generations to farm enough rice to keep their families alive. Unfortunately, an equally basic element in living is man’s cruelty; the bandits who raid the village, while not sympathetic, are also portrayed as men who are merely doing what they must do to survive. The conflict is primal, and a 16th century village, stripped bare of any modern convenience, is a perfect, blank canvas upon which to show the interplay of basic, conflicting needs.

What stands out most in Seven Samurai, and what has ensured its place as a film classic, is how nothing is ever just one thing. As stated, the bandits are not purely evil, but the villagers are also not necessarily good and victimized people. Lines blur, and who is good or bad depends upon whose needs seem most urgent. The villagers, it turns out, have a history of capturing bandits and stealing from them, and this revelation shocks the Samurai there to protect them. As may be expected, Samurai warriors have more in common with raiders than with farmers. Eventually, however, they see that any such action by the villagers is merely more desperation at play, and the Samurai fulfill their pledges to save the village.

When an element of romance is introduced in the film, it is not in any way contrived. Kurosawa knew that, even in the most extreme circumstances, these things happen. In Seven Samurai, the romance has a very ironic twist; the youngest of the guest warriors falls in love with a girl who had been disguised as a boy by her father, to protect her from advances from the Samurai themselves. There is a touching and real quality to this development. The father had been afraid that his daughter would be ravaged; he had not imagined the possibility of love, certainly not from a cold warrior. As presented in this movie, the story of the affair seems absolutely correct, and an example of the bizarre twists love can take.

The plot structure of the film also moves along lines that echo real life. A lesser director would have set his scene, and then filled in gaps with filler material until he delivered the big finish of the battle between village and bandits. Kurosawa, however, paces everything as it would actually occur. Even a little war does not happen in an instant, and the audience sees, day by day, how the interactions between the farmers and their protectors bring about both tensions and greater understandings. Then, there is the very real sense that nothing is guaranteed. The village has protection, but it is known by all concerned that the bandits have a superior fighting force. This air of fear is transmitted in every scene; it fluctuates with the audience as it would in life, as hope and confidence alternate between terror.

So, too, are the mechanics of the actual confrontations realistic. The Samurai devise a clever strategy for luring the bandits in one by one, and it is successful, but not entirely so. Other bandits sneak in and do their worst, and this is a striking parallel to real life. Even a carefully executed plan may fall apart in some ways, and unexpected damage is the result. In this case, it translates to increased desperation on the part of the villagers and the Samurai. Time is running out because the farmers are already too weak to assist much in their own salvation.

The most powerful element in this remarkable movie, however, comes at the conclusion. True to his theme of realistic presentation, there is no decisive victory where the village is saved and the Samurai ride off in triumph. Several of the protectors, in fact, die earlier, and one by a virtual assassination. Only three survive at the end. It is at this point that the film reveals its power and honesty, and it does not present a happy ending, by any means.

Kikuchiyo, the man who was initially rejected by the Samurai, kills the bandit leader, establishing himself as worthy even as he dies himself. That poetic balance aside, the audience is left as troubled as the remaining Samurai. Ultimately, they have won the day, although at great cost to all concerned. The bandits were defeated, and the villagers rejoice. They immediately begin going about their farming again, happy and free.

There is a heartlessness about this resuming of life, however, and the surviving Samurai are keenly aware of it. They and the audience wonders: was any of this worth it? All that death, all that horror, and all that results is the continuing of a struggle for existence. Then, it does not seem right that any happiness should be demonstrated at all; the Samurai have fulfilled their pledge, yet they feel cheated. Heroic and noble, they are finer than what they sought to save.

This is a beautiful and strong statement, and Kurosawa almost echoes Hamlet in power here, as in that great play all the trauma and conflict comes to little more than a collection of corpses. The brilliance of Seven Samurai lies in its pure, honest story-telling. Kurosawa shows us that there are heroes and there are villains, but that life itself seems to have the most heartless agenda of all. It will consume whatever it must, in order to go on, and the few, fine things men will sometimes do come to no more than the evil that spurred them on to begin with.

Time is precious

Time is precious

don’t waste it!

Get instant essay
writing help!
Get instant essay writing help!
Plagiarism-free guarantee

Plagiarism-free
guarantee

Privacy guarantee

Privacy
guarantee

Secure checkout

Secure
checkout

Money back guarantee

Money back
guarantee

Related Movie Review Samples & Examples

Terms of Endearment, Movie Review Example

The movie ‘Terms of Endowment’ is a romantic comedy produced in 1983 and based on Novel authored by Mcmurtry Larry. The movie (book) is based [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 309

Movie Review

John Q, Movie Review Example

John Q is an emotionally-packed movie that surrounds the unfortunate medical circumstances of John, played by Denzel Washington, and his son.  The purpose of the [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 1082

Movie Review

12 Angry Men, Movie Review Example

The movie “12 Angry Men” was originally made in 1957 with Henry Fonda as the main character that opposed the prejudice of the rest of [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 1409

Movie Review

Identity Theft in “The Net”, Movie Review Example

Identity theft is a very serious issue within the United States and in many other modern countries throughout the world.  The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 691

Movie Review

The Last King of Scotland, Movie Review Example

The Plot, Main Characters, and the International Context According to Michael Phillips (2007), the movie is based on a novel by Giles Foden, directed by [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 1565

Movie Review

Forts and Castles of Ghana, Movie Review Example

The Functionality of the European Slave Trade John Kufuor, former president of Ghana recognized the people of Ghana as its greatest asset in the documentary, [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 987

Movie Review

Terms of Endearment, Movie Review Example

The movie ‘Terms of Endowment’ is a romantic comedy produced in 1983 and based on Novel authored by Mcmurtry Larry. The movie (book) is based [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 309

Movie Review

John Q, Movie Review Example

John Q is an emotionally-packed movie that surrounds the unfortunate medical circumstances of John, played by Denzel Washington, and his son.  The purpose of the [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 1082

Movie Review

12 Angry Men, Movie Review Example

The movie “12 Angry Men” was originally made in 1957 with Henry Fonda as the main character that opposed the prejudice of the rest of [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 1409

Movie Review

Identity Theft in “The Net”, Movie Review Example

Identity theft is a very serious issue within the United States and in many other modern countries throughout the world.  The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 691

Movie Review

The Last King of Scotland, Movie Review Example

The Plot, Main Characters, and the International Context According to Michael Phillips (2007), the movie is based on a novel by Giles Foden, directed by [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 1565

Movie Review

Forts and Castles of Ghana, Movie Review Example

The Functionality of the European Slave Trade John Kufuor, former president of Ghana recognized the people of Ghana as its greatest asset in the documentary, [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 987

Movie Review

Get a Free E-Book ($50 in value)

Get a Free E-Book

How To Write The Best Essay Ever!

How To Write The Best Essay Ever!