From the moment that
the first promotional clips for this movie were released, I was
confident that it would be terribleómelodramatic and corny in every way.
My initial reaction was the opposite of most everyone elseís; the
majority of moviegoers thought that it would be grand. And here we are
now. The Last Samurai has opened to mixed reviews and a hesitant
following. Those that were anxiously awaiting it have found themselves
disappointed. But, of course, I, the guy who didnít think that itíd be
any good, love it. Isnít it ironic how things often turn out?
The Last Samurai
may be long, but itís a completely worthwhile epic thatís both riveting
and enthralling. Rarely will an audience feel as though theyíve
experienced a gigantic journey after watching a film, but this is a
welcome exception. There are so many emotions that one encounters when
viewing this motion picture; it fearlessly captures passion, animosity,
apprehensiveness, pain, nervousness, courage, love, tiredness, and
anxiousness. The epic is one type of film that Hollywood producers can
flawlessly create. This movie is a wonderful example.
Despite my many
reservations about Tom Cruise, itís hard to deny that he knows what heís
doing here. While his performance may not be one of the best of the
year, it suits the role, and acts as a subtle centerpiece for the
eventful and booming plot. Several of the other members of the cast,
however, are astonishing. Ken Watanabe is the standout of the film. His
portrayal of his honorable and unafraid character is fierce and swift,
miraculous in every aspect. William Atherton, Koyuki, and Hiroyuki
Sanada are also terrific in their roles.
The Last Samurai
is certainly one of the most visual impressive films of the year, as
well. I was reminded of Myazakiís animated feature My Neighbor Totoro
when gazing at the serene and lush backdrops from wondrous locations in
Japan. Behind the camera capturing them, we have expert cinematographer
John Toll. The photography alone makes The Last Samurai worth
seeing. The rest of the many pros are mere pluses on an infamous list of
the great things that this movie has to offer. To experience it is
miraculous; it allows us to think of life in a completely different way
than we normally would.