The greatest Japanese film I have ever seen.
Firstly, I must admit that I have seen very few Japanese films. But I must admit that in grandeur and magnanimity, very few will match this film. Akira Kurosawa the master director made this magnum opus which I believe set a precedent in terms of various themes.
Recruiting men for a purpose. A recruit romancing a local woman. A team taking up a task and accomplishing successfully with few sacrifices. These are just a few to name. This I believe is a film that has major influences from the far east to the far far west. Though made in Japan, there was a film called "Magnificent Seven" which was the remake of this film. That film was setup in the far far west where the Samurai were replaced by gunslingers.
After watching this film, I can clearly understand what influences Kurosawa had on the likes of the film makers of later years from Steven Spielberg to Francis Ford Coppola to many Indian film makers.
The themes in this film are subliminal to the extent of conflict. The conflict is even greater and is perhaps one of the earliest conflicts that spans for more than an hour. The whole fight between bandits and the villagers lasts for as many minutes as you can see. Yet, there are many things that happen in that and is almost made a war-like situation. I really doubt even in war movies, real war was shown for this long and with such intensity.
The passion shown by Kurosawa is surely unmatched. In terms of set-design, casting of actors, choreography of the conflict, the cinematography with so many cameras and the finesse in editing that shows each frame beautifully. He is one of the few asian directors who had that zeal and had that invested their whole lives in film making.
Too much to learn from the first watching of this film and I am sure, I will revisit this film time and again to understand the composition of frames and many many things. From the beginning to the end this film is high on drama and has less comic content, except for the maverick Toshiro Mifune (Kikuchiyo), but the high volume drama almost left me breathless and kept me engaged all the way.
The writing is immaculate and the detailing is something that has inspired many film makers and will continue to do so. A 5/5 for one of the greatest films ever made.