Movie: The Last Samurai

Very silly

The Last Samurai is a very silly movie. It's about a youngish but broken-down Civil War veteran, Nathan Algren, who goes to Japan to train the Meji Emperor's troops so that they can subdue some hold-outs who think that feudalism continues to be a fine idea. Algren finds that he has more in common with the noble samurai warriors that he's supposed to train people to kill than with his evil (American) commanding officer and the slimy Japanese politicians who want the samurai dead.

That's only rather silly. The especially silly bit is the portrayal of feudalism. The Last Samurai isn't the first time that feudalism has been portrayed as a sort of idyllic proto-socialism (multi-cultural proto-socialism in this case, a buddy points out) and it won't be the last time. But just in case anyone was wondering, Japanese feudalism was at least as dreadful for most people as anybody else's kind. The idea that samurai would have had the least interest in the well-being of peasants is plain wrong.

Posted: Tue - May 18, 2004 at 03:25   Main   Category: