FBMR - The Last Samurai
Film-Buff Movie Reviews

THE LAST SAMURAI (2003) ***1/2

When I first heard about this film, I thought it sounded cool, but then I heard that Tom Cruise was going to star in it and I sighed in disappointment. I like Tom Cruise, and have nothing against him, but I thought it was unfortunate that it had to take a white American actor to bring to light a huge part of Japanís history.

But as much as Tom Cruise is the "star", the film isn't all about his character, Nathan Algren, as much as it's about Japan adopting more western ways at the expense of the tradition of the Samurai. All the acting was very solid. The Samurai were the movie, and it was tremendously portrayed. There was as much action as there was inner conflict, it had moments of deep sorrow, and some rather humourous moments as well. At one point, without spoiling anything, I thought the movie was going to head in a typical "Hollywood" direction, but it didn't, and I was glad.

Civil War veteran, Captain Nathan Algren, who is very much troubled by many of the things he has had to do as a soldier, is hired to train the Emperor's army in Japan in order to better face the Samurai rebels. But the Samurai until recently had been, and still consider themselves to be in the Emperor's service. It's the businessmen who seem to be pushing for their erasure.