Akira Kurosawa directs Toshirô Mifune, Tatsuya Nakadai and Yôko Tsukasa in this samurai classic that was remade into A Fistful of Dollars.
Rain. Wind. Dust. Kurosawa’ shots are constantly moving in every direction. Then again so is Mifune’s twitchy, over confident physical performance. The villains are colourful – like a Mad Max gang. The action teased protractedly then satisfyingly violent in bursts. Masaru Sato’s score is surprisingly jazzy. The whole thing is a perfect blend of claustrophobia and the epic. My favourite moment is when one capable hired sword gets an inkling of the violence to come and just decides to escape over the back wall. The two men of action wave at each other, acknowledging and accepting each other priorities and motivations in a silent but perfectly pitched time-out. A classic of Japanese cinema.
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