At last! I fulfilled another patriotic duty by seeing another film that was made in New Zealand! [The author is from New Zealand]
The Last Samurai is the kind of story we don’t get a lot of these days – an unashamedly romantic, epic piece.
What’s most unusual is the attitude toward war shown in this film. It doesn’t glorify it, but it does distinguish between fighting with honour (the old Samurai way) and fighting for greed and cowardice (the imperial soldiers mowing down Samurai with a Gatling gun … a horrifying, wonderfully done scene).
Perhaps the best message from the whole film was the message inscribed on the sword given to Tom Cruise’s character, Algren:
“I belong to someone who combines the old ways with the new.”
(Or something like that – it sounded much more profound on screen!)
And that’s the heart of the film. Soulless, tortured Algren comes to fight against the Samurai, who are standing in the way of democracy and progress. He discovers true peace and in return, without really intending to, shows the Samurai leader that while a man may not be able to change his own destiny, he can sure try.
As you watch this, look at the journeys taken by The Last Samurai‘s two main characters. It’s a well-crafted movie, so believe me, as they go through their journey, you’ll be coming along for the ride!