Personally, to begin with I didn’t really like this film. It is considered an epic and at over 3 hrs long it is rather meaty. It is the story of a village who hire a band of samurai to protect their village from bandits. Reading online reviews of this film made me feel almost like a traitor for not fully appreciating the film from the get-go.
As the film passed the 2 hr mark, though, I slowly began liking it. At first, the layout and general pacing of the film seemed a bit off but as the movie went on I could see that Japanese films cannot be approached lightly.
Bit by bit, Samurai ingratiates you into its world. It has made me keen to find out more about the real samurais on which the characters are based.
Over all, my favourite character was probably Kambei Shimada, because he was the wise veteran soldier who stole all the scenes he was in (which was most of them) with his understated but prominent presence. Takashi Shimura, the actor who played him, was a solid presence in Akira Kurosawa’s films, and I can see why.
Visually, this film was masterful and felt ageless. I really want to watch it again at some point.
MY RATING: *** / *****