Genre: Adventure, Drama
Duration: 3h 27min
Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Takashi Shimura, Keiko Tsushima
Director: Akira Kurosawa
It's 1954 Japan- a time of turmoil, bedeviled by perpetual infightings that've thrown the country into disarray. The movie brings to the fore the dark underbelly of war and zeroes in on a godforsaken village of farmers- sidelieners who get the short end of the stick. It's everybody on their own and in a poverty-stricken country, the poor either die or do what is needed to survive and one dismal option is always theft. There are bandits at every corner and a band as such prey on this poor village left at their mercy.
Though sick of being victimized, there’s no money to hire someone to help slough off the robbers. Anyhow, as things unfold, it is shown that people aren’t all greedy and some still have a heart for the helpless and so an unhired samurai comes about and resolves to give a hand. Before long, there’s seven of them to give the thieves a good run for their money.
Albeit I have mixed feelings about it , there's no doubt this is a great movie. But three and a half hours is a lot of time and when you come across it you tell yourself it'd better be freaking good. People shrink back from this sort of lengthy flicks more often than not,me included. I'm one of them and unless I feel it in my bones or I read a hell of a reliable review I'm usually kind of wary and lean towards not chancing my arm. I don't like my time being wasted by any run-of-the-mill so-and-so.
But the big question that bewildered me for quite a bit of time is what is it that makes this a great movie? I mean it lacks the well-defined protagonist around whom the story is generally built. It is completely devoid of twists. It ain’t funny. The ubiquitous nudity nowadays, need I say, has no place here. It doesn’t employ any jaw-dropping filming techniques and is much of a stranger to philosophy. And yet, it is a pleasurable movie.
I don’t know how apparent the reason is but when you get right down to it, the movie means story, esentially. And this tells a good story. It doesn’t have any twists and turns but it doesn’t need them. Sure, a couple of brassieres on the bedroom floor stripped off a statuesque body aren’t bad but all the bells and whistles won’t get you a story that stays with you. Now, I’m not gonna lie to you. You really need a pair to watch the whole thing again, and I certainly won’t in the foreseeble future. But this is sooner because there’s still a deluge of flicks out there I ain’t got around to enjoy as yet. And I’m dead set on doing that. But I’m getting carried away.
The bottom line is this is a must-see movie. Maybe it goes a little overboard in terms of length but I’m gonna chalk this up to enthusiasm and it’s certainly redeemed by the compelling story, above all things, it brings to the table. That’s in fact the wow factor- the story department. In addition, this is the first thing I think of when I hear the word Samurai, incidentally. And the japanese is also nice for a change (I can’t tell you how mad I am about this language). The soundtrack rocks too, for another thing.