A provocative take on politics and culture from a skeptical, libertarian point of view

Location: Long Island, New York, United States

Friday, August 06, 2004

"The Last Samurai" movie review

I just saw last year's Tom Cruise movie "The Last Samurai" directed by Ed Zwick. It is a well-done farrago of nonsense. It is beautifully photographed with excellent sets, costumes and outdoor locations. But is still nonsense.

It idolizes the samurai of old Japan, rebelling against the Meiji Restoration's Imperial Westernizing and modernizing reforms. Against all evidence to the contrary, the film puts forward the notion that this was contrary to the Emperor's wishes.

It treats as if true the notion that samurai served the people rather than dominated them. Recently, I saw a documentary on old Japan and an excellent movie covering the period just before the Meiji Restoration called "Twilight Samurai." The samurai class was no more than 10% of the population and they lived off the backs of the 90%.

This is no different than idolizing the knights of medieval Europe and taking seriously the code of chivalry as nothing more than window-dressing.

However, this is an amusing way to pass the time. See it with a cartload of salt.


Post a Comment

<< Home