WRITTEN BY SHINJON SANA
Symposia : 8.4/10
IMDb : 7.7/10
‘The Last Samurai’ follows the adventures of a capable ex-soldier who fought during the American-Indian Wars. Although he was once a capable and gifted soldier, the war traumatized him. During the course of the movie, he accepts an offer to train the ‘Japanese Imperial Army’ to crush a rebel uprising.
The movie has some stellar acting headlined by Tom Cruise. Widely renowned for his roles in action movies, Cruise’s signature style shines through here as well. However, personally I felt there was more to his character besides the action sequences. The emotional depth he portrayed as a scarred drunk who gets a new chance at redeeming himself is truly inspiring. It is worth noting that he makes a life changing decision sometime during the course of the duration. Yes, it is a decision most viewers will expect him to make, but the manner in which that decision plays out is amazing. The other actors were equally remarkable, with a special mention to Ken Watanabe in his role as Katsumoto. To portray the Legendary Samurai is no joke. It takes the way they lived their lives and every actor who played the role of a Samurai in this film did the role justice.
Another reason I found this movie so engrossing was the deeper meanings and similarities to real life. Of course, it is not directly related to reality and one has to infer the connection themselves. I found it easy to see how this movie’s message resonates with real life. To emphasise on this, the Samurai were warlords and soldiers whose only duty was to protect their emperor, it is indeed strange when we find out that the rebels are Samurai. The true, deeper meaning behind this is that they are guardians of the culture. They had the intention of retaining the honour, the pride and the glory of Japanese culture in a time when Western culture was sprawling; which brings us back to reality. Never forget your origin, no matter how much you may despise it. It is who you are, and this film goes great lengths to reinforce that.
Not to mention, the movie has superb cinematography. Shot in Japan, ‘The Last Samurai’ captures some truly breath-taking sights. It is also incredibly refreshing to see the simple yet powerful lifestyle of the Samurai, quite a change from the high paced lifestyle of the west. There is definitely something in this movie that will appeal to everyone and I highly recommend it.