Monday, January 03, 2005

The Last Samurai (2003)

"So if I'm the last one... uh... what does that make you?"

Action Adventure Samurai War Drama

Starring: Tom Cruise (Top Gun; Eyes Wide Shut), Ken Watanabe (Batman Begins; Memoirs Of A Geisha)

Directed By: Edward Zwick (The Siege; Legends Of The Fall)

Overview: A disillusioned American officer finds peace in the Samurai's code.

Acting: There was one character, Ujio, that I found constantly on the verge of tears. True, she had suffered quite a bit, but it seemed a little too forced to me. Other than that, the acting on the part of every man was well played, well directed.
Rating: 8

Cinematography: The panoramic scenes of the modernizing Japan, the backdrop of battlefields. The stunning array of Japanese bridges and gardens. All this was expected, all this came to be, but it just wasn't enough for me. The movie was long enough, but five more minutes of peaceful landscapes or historic representation of the city streets would have made a big difference. Not as epic as I expected, still very impressive.
Rating: 8

Script: "Imagine someone who hates you with the utmost intensity, grabbing a handful of your hair while you're lying prostrate and helpless, then scraping the dull blade of a rusty knife around your scalp with a saw like motion, and let your imagination grasp, if you can Mr Graham, the effect of a strong quick jerk on the turf of your hair, to release any clinging particles would have on your nervous system. You'll have some idea how it feels to be scalped."

Well written, the scenes held true to the emotion of the film. I quite liked the diplomatic meeting with the Japanese council that Tom had after being released from capture. Very "seething undercurrent."
Rating: 8

The plot was fairly simple and predictable, a man realizes his way is wrong and fights alongside someone he truly admires. Nothing truly surprising here, no great twists. President Bush would do good to watch this movie about someone who cares about his countrymen more than his purse.
Rating: 7

Mood: The film stayed true to it's form. There was no great symbolism or imagery or foreshadowing that I noticed. I suppose the director decided to play it safe. Still it's what we all expected I'm sure. The mood here is pretty formulaic, and why mess with what works?
Rating: 7

Again, I must insist. Cruise looks more like the Second Last Samurai here as well...

Overall Rating: 76% (Really Nice)

Aftertaste: It's a good movie, one I've been meaning to get around to, but nothing truly moving or so grandiose that I'll ever insist people see it. I often like a nice good long movie, one that takes it's time in storytelling, and this was one of them. You'll like it. It's safe.