The Last Samurai


(out of 5)

After participating in a number of Civil War battles (many of which helped decimate the populations of natives in North America), an embittered, drunken veteran () follows his superior officers to Japan in search of big money. He has been hired by the emperor to train the country’s army in the technology of gun battle and help bring the nation up to par with the rest of the “modern” world. The Japanese leader’s enemies are a small faction of samurai who have rebelled and insist on keeping to the old ways of sword-fighting and clinging to now-outdated codes of honour. After being captured by these warriors, Cruise ends up being trained by them in ancient arts of sword-wielding and growing to love their ways. When it comes time to fight in battle again, he fights for the first time not as a mercenary soldier but as someone who is following his heart onto the battlefield; unfortunately, his newfound purpose in life occurs at the very time that the idyllic world of tradition is being destroyed by the winds of change. This enjoyable battle epic features an excellent, charismatic lead performance by Cruise, and makes up in rich cultural and period detail what it lacks in character development and original storytelling. The plot basically follows the cookie-cutter development of life-changing period epics, but many of the themes are relevant and are at times quite powerful. The personalities of the performers (especially an outstanding  as the leader of the samurai rebels) still allows for the action scenes and their results to be very emotionally involving.

USA, 2003

Directed by 

Story by John Logan, Screenplay by John Logan, Edward Zwick, Marshall Herskovitz

Cinematography by John Toll

Produced by Tom Cruise, , , , , Edward Zwick

Music by

Production Design by

Costume Design by

Film Editing by ,

Cast Tags:  , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,, ,

Academy Award Nominations
Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Ken Watanabe as “Katsumoto”)
Best Art Direction (art direction: Lilly Kilvert; set decoration: Gretchen Rau)
Best Costume Design (Ngila Dickson)
Best Sound Mixing (Andy Nelson, Anna Behlmer, Jeff Wexler)

Golden Globe Award Nominations
Best Performance By An Actor in a Motion Picture-Drama (Tom Cruise)
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture (Ken Watanabe)
Best Original Score-Motion Picture (Hans Zimmer)

National Board Of Review Awards
Best Director (Edward Zwick)
Top Ten Films

Screen Actors Guild Award Nomination
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role (Ken Watanabe)



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s