In production notes provided by distributor Roadside Attractions, Director Peter Weber and screenwriter Vera Blasi explained their approach to the story.
Webber says that when he read the script, he felt that the story was not only about past history, but had something quite contemporary and relevant to say about the differences between revenge and justice. The moral shadows and tricky romance in the story put Webber in mind of classic film noir. “There was something in the script that reminded me of The Third Man,” Webber states. “This is more of a political thriller, but I really wanted to make a kind of neo-noir out of it in the detail and the atmosphere. To me it’s at once a political thriller, a love story and a dark film noir.”
The vision for the film was further refined by Blasi. Known for her passionate love of history and finesse with psychologically rich characters, she found the heart of the story. “To me it’s about how justice and truth are juxtaposed with political expedience and what will be the greater good for the world,” she explains. “I just find that fascinating and it continues to be very important in our world.”
Having worked for generals myself, I think Jones' portrayal of MacArthur strikes just the right tone. There are very few laughs in this movie and Jones gets them when his MacArthur lambasts politicians. Like soldiers everywhere, MacArthur had to deal with the hard edge of reality, while politicians in Washington are more concerned about the soft world of image. But like most generals, he edges toward politics, and Jones and director Webber handle this well.
Mathew Fox portrays Fellers as caught between forces beyond his control. His personal conflicts and frustration, with his assignment and his search for his missing Japanese girlfriend, provide insights, on an understandable human level, into the larger disconnects between American and Japanese society.
Part of what makes this movie work is the result of the behind-the-scenes team. This includes Oscar nominated director of photography Stuart Dryburgh (Texas Killing Fields, The Piano) and Academy Award winning production designer Grant Major (King Kong, The Lord Of The Rings trilogy).