Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Last Samurai

Movie review:
by Carlos Moreira
The Last Samurai: Bushidou

“The director of "Legends of the fall" and "Glory”
*Here you got the trailer
Stage 1: Research
Websites Explored
I made some research in some websites and there are some of them:

Internet Movie Data Base =

Rotten Tomatoes =

Joblo’s Movie Emporium =

Wikipedia =

Google =

Stage 2: Write a Review

The story begins with a guy named Captain Nathan Algren (Tom Cruse), has a good rifleman and an expert in training. In the movie Algren is called to Japan to train an army to fight a battle against a group of samurai rebels led by the samurai general Katsumoto (I can say that is brilliantly played by Ken Watanabe).So he arrived in Japan and he met the Japanese Emperor (Shichinosuke Nakamura). The emperor facing the progression of is nation asked Algren to train his army to teach them the new methods of war.
So Algren start to train them and begins his studies concerning the samurais, almost immediately that he knew what is army was capable of, he was forced to enter in a fight. In the battle, the samurais win and Algren was captured after killing one of the samurai leaders himself, is taken as a prisoner to an isolated village, where he gradually recovers from his wounds. Without knowing he is taken on a strange world that will at first find strange but that he will fall in love, eventually.He lives with the family of the samurai he killed, namely his widow Taka (played by Koyuky, her two sons (Higen and Magojiro) and Katsumoto son Nobutada (Shin Koyomada).
So with a lot of pain Algren gets better and begins to live with this strange people with their strange habits and language so he starts to learn swordplay from a skilled sword master named Ujio (Hiroyuki Sanada) and converses with the local residents of the village to be able to learn more and more from them. With the arrival of spring, Nathan begin to like his peaceful way of life but he’s taken back to Tokyo, where he learns that the army is now better organized and outfitted with cannons. So like he fell in love with the samurai’s way he declines the Japanese government's job offer.

He also witnesses the brutality of the Japanese soldiers who enforce the new laws. Forbidding samurai to carry swords and have long hair in public, on one of his friends the samurai leader Katsumoto is arrested, but Algren rescues him. During the rescue mission, a very important character (I’ll not say who) is killed. So they return, Algren and katsumoto create a force of swordsmen and warriors to fight against the emperor army and Algren receives a samurai sword of his own. He is also given, by Taka, the armor of the samurai he killed. The samurai plan, with the assistance of Algren, is to make their final stand and to try to “open all Japanese eyes”. When the Japanese army confronts the samurai's forces to put down the rebellion, the samurai start to fight better than the Japanese, and kill many of them. After a savage battle that leaves many samurai and infantrymen dead, the surviving samurai resolve to make a final charge. They charge through the infantry, but it was a suicide attack and it killed almost all samurais. Katsumoto, obeying “bushido” in order to keep his honor, commits suicide, ending his life. The Emperor's soldiers, many of whose comrades have also been killed, show their respect by bowing to the fallen samurai. So Algren, after surviving, went running to the emperor to convince to decline the American ambassadors' offer and the emperor rejected it and like that continued Katsumoto dream to have a unified Japan. Algren then supposedly returns to the samurai village where he was imprisoned earlier and to Taka that he fell in love with.
So now I can say that The Last Samurai is a great movie that as Honor as principal subject because the small resume I wrote is only the story that Edward Zwick shown to you in this movie. But the real aspect of the movie is about a man who have seen it all and that is disturbed by dreams he thought he would never get reed of, finds his own paradise in a foreigner land with strange people that live by a code that he started to criticize but that in the end he totally understood and adopted the samurai way instead of the occidental culture and his new inventions. In this movie the director show the spectator not only image but also feelings like honor, duty, compassion, courtesy and others.
Concerning the actors Tom Cruise, for me, gets here his best role-play since the beginning of his career, and we have a fantastic role of Ken Watanabe and also I liked the graciousness of Hioryuki Sanada. And for those who are interested to learn more from the Japanese culture, this is a great movie either way I strongly recommend it to everyone...

Stage 3. Reflections1.

How did the reviews help you with writing your own review?
They help me a lot because I was able to see different types of reviews, some of them as more a critic side, other are more like my own review they prefer start to explain the story and show an appellative side. This helped me a lot because I didn’t know who to put the plot, the actors and the other characteristics in a text and so I went research and I discovered that in many movies the reviewers prefer to resume the story and after give an opinion of it.
But this method has a catch if it’s a new movie it’s not appropriated because it will spoil the surprise to the viewer but if its movie that already went to sail and already as been shown in TV, I think it’s the best method to make a review.

What did you learn about the subject you were researching?
I found that it’s an interesting area that is given a low attention, because most of the people don’t take time reading the reviews (speaking with personal experience), and I found out many things not only about the movies, but also about the director’s and there work, and I was presented with a lot of new actors not to much known that will be in the future the next Brad Pitt or Samuel L Jackson.

How did this help you with your writing?
I taught me to express my opinion about something and also, it help me showing me a new type of resume that we have to transcribe a short resume not from a already written story but from images that appear in the movie, in that way we can do a resume according with what we reacted, like or dislike from the story.

The Cast:
Tom Cruise As Nathan Algren

Ken Watanabe
As General Katsumoto

(Winner of prize
Best supporting actor)

Shichinosuke Nakamura
As the Meji Emperor

Hiroyuki Sanada
As Ujio
, Leader
Of Katsumoto Army and
The Sword master.

As Taka

The mysterious widow

Masato Harada
As Omura
the emperor

Shin Koyomada
As Nobutada
the son of Katsumoto
And friend of Algren

Sosuke Ilkematsu. As Higen, Taka older son and nephew of katsumoto.


Rui Freitas said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rui Freitas said...

what can I say about this film man?! one of the best i've seen...
All that cultural references and the battle sequences...amazing!
If you liked this film, you have definitly to see edward zwick's lastest one: "blood diamond" with leo dicaprio...Breathtaking!!

Filipa Correia said...

The music itself is amazing. You have to see it more than once. I'm looking forwrad to see "blood diamond" as well!