The Last Samurai

2003

Drama / History / War

The Last Samurai (2003) download yts

Synopsis


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Director

Cast

Tom Cruise as Nathan Algren
Billy Connolly as Zebulon Gant
Tony Goldwyn as Colonel Bagley
Scott Wilson as Ambassador Swanbeck
720p 1080p
1.00 GB
1280*720
R
23.976 fps
2hr 34 min
P/S Unknown
2.20 GB
1920*1080
R
23.976 fps
2hr 34 min
P/S Unknown

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by filmbuff-36 9 / 10

Cruise and Watanabe conquer with great performances

It is said that the only thing constant is change. Old ideals die off, and new technologies replace the inefficiencies of yesteryear. The young usually have little trouble adjusting to change, but traditionalists are often dragged into the new era either kicking and screaming or silently resolved to remove themselves completely.

"The Last Samurai" manages to capture a little of both, with Japanese men living in a world in transition from ancient bushido rituals of honor into a more modern empire of industry and trade. A sweeping historical epic that hints at the brilliance of Akira Kurosawa's finest work while also invoking the melancholy of a Shakespearean tragedy, the movie is a reminder of the cost of high ideals and danger of industrial conformity.

It's 1876, and Captain Nathan Algren (Tom Cruise) is an alcoholic wreck of a man. A veteran of the Civil War as well as General Custer's Indian campaigns, he drifts from one situation to another ostensibly looking for work but really seeking refuge from his inner demons of slaughtering innocent women and children.

Opportunity knocks in the form of an old Army acquaintance Colonel Ben Bagley (Tony Goldwyn), who has accepted work with a Japanese businessman named Omura (Masato Harada). Omura has been charged with recruiting American war vets as military advisors to the new Japanese Army. Emperor Meiji, under advise from Omura and other parties, is interested in modernizing his nation's military with rifles and other armaments.

In order to unify the nation, the powers that be must first take care of civil dissidence within Japan. The samurai, led by charismatic chieftain Katsumoto (Ken Watanabe), are violently opposing the invasion of Western culture into their islands. Bagley foolishly sends his ill-trained soldiers into combat against the samurai, and during the resulting massacre Algren is captured and taken to the samurai's village.

During the course of the winter, Algren slowly gains the trust of his captors and in turn is given free roam over the village. He fights with Uijo (Hiroyuki Sanada), who dislikes the American from the beginning, and is given food and shelter by Taka (Koyuki), the wife of one of samurai he killed during battle.

Katsumoto meanwhile seeks to learn about his enemy, and begins to respect Algren as a fellow warrior. Also interested in the American is Katsumoto's son Nobutada (Shin Koyamada), intrigued by Western culture. Algren finds the first peace he has known in a long time, and begins to adapt to the ways of the samurai. He acts as a surrogate father to Taka's children, learns to sword fight with a kitana blade and begins to respect the culture that he originally sought to destroy.

But during Algren's absence the Japanese Army has had better opportunity to prepare themselves, and time is soon approaching that will determine the fate of the samurai and the future of Japan.

"The Last Samurai" is beautifully filmed by John Toll, the same cinematographer who worked on "Braveheart." The comparisons are obvious with moments of silent reflection and loud explosions of fury, both powerfully captured on film.

Director Edward Zwick brings the same determination to the screen that he did more than a decade ago with "Glory." The attention to period detail is near flawless and the movie never releases its grip on the audience.

As Algren, Cruise grows from suicidal depression to driven idealist quite realistically, drawing on the standard dishonored warrior archetype while giving him touches of humanity. Cruise's only shortcoming is his lack of dramatic range, and as such it never seems like Algren has any sinister intent even when acting selfishly. Never for a moment is there a doubt that he's destined to be a hero.

Cruise is also overshadowed in every scene by Watanabe, who makes Katsumoto a honorable man who is shocked by all the dishonor threatening to overthrow his country. Philosopher, poet, family man and warrior - Katsumoto wears many hats, and is realized through Watanabe perfectly.

Other smaller roles are captured by strong performances as well, including Goldwyn who brings class to the standard villain role as Bagley, Koyuki who plays Taka with quiet sadness and torn loyalties between her fallen husband and his killer who she is growing to love, and Koyamada who makes Nobutada young and headstrong but still sympathetic and honorable.

"The Last Samurai" only suffers during a protracted finale that screams of studio interference. The ending smacks of being safe, clean and Hollywood, something that almost betrays to whole film.

The movie is still strong enough to become a modern day classic. Like "The Wild Bunch," it speaks to those curious of what became of warriors who outlived their time. Timeless issues of honor, loyalty and redemption as well as the clashing of ancient culture versus new technology remain omnipresent. To remain in the past in foolish, but to forget it entirely is disgraceful.

Nine out of ten stars. Destined to be remembered for some time, this movie honorably deals with its subject matter.

Reviewed by mileniumanimator 10 / 10

Wonderful Film

I disagree with a lot of the reviews of this film. Yes, it is true that it does glorify a lifestyle in an exaggerated and unfairly sublime way, but I think we're missing the point. This film is romanticism vs. modernism. It's purity vs. corruption. It's not so much the premise or believability, but the substance behind it.

Tom Cruise is an actor who is both idolized (by fans) and ridiculed (by critics) In this film he dazzles us as a drunken U.S General haunted by a bloody past. I was pushing for him to get an Oscar Nod, but alas, None came. "The Last Samurai" wasn't particularly well received and that was disconcerting to me. I'd recommend it to anyone with a taste for romance and for anyone who simply longs for a little less "celebrity wedding" and a little more "help the old lady across the road".

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