Film Review– “The Last Samurai”

s Nithin Kurian  |   2 mins read April 14, 2022 | 58 eye icon

A Timeless Classic

“I think a man does what he can until destiny is revealed to him”. These are the words of Captain Nathan Algren, the protagonist of the movie “The Last Samurai” directed by Edward Zwick starring Tom Cruise, Ken Watanabe, Hiroyuki Sanada, among others.

Captain Nathan Algren played by Tom Cruise is an ex-military man carrying a painful past with scars of the many wars and the innocent women and children he had to kill because he had to obey orders. Capt. Algren seeks solace in alcohol and in several instances early on in the movie, it becomes clear that he has lost the desire to live and even yearns for death.

His life takes an unexpected turn when he is hired to train the Japanese army to fight a Samurai rebellion led by Katsumoto, a highly regarded Samurai warrior and loyal follower of the Emperor. Nathan finds himself in the middle of a war for the very soul of Japan where the new Japanese order that favours Japan to evolve into a modern economy with American weaponry and the latest that the world has to offer, is at odds with the samurai diaspora that prefers Japan to preserve its cultural identity and integrity.

Moving in with a relatively untrained army, Nathan faces a formidable samurai army whose only occupation for the last thousand years has been war. Nathan loses the battle and is captured as a prisoner of war. But contrary to his fears, Nathan is taken to a samurai hideout deep in the Japanese mountains where he is treated with dignity and compassion. Living with the samurai, Nathan is deeply influenced by the samurai way of life, their perception of war and the ideologies of their leader Katsumoto.

Embracing the samurai way, Nathan is able to find a stillness in himself that he lost many years ago and he joins the Samurai rebellion in their fight for the cultural integrity of Japan and the samurai way of life.

An insightful movie that poses probing questions on the evolution of nations and the men who play a crucial part in that story. Stellar performances from Tom Cruise and Ken Watanabe. A must-watch for all Samurai aficionados and Tom Cruise fans.

Nithin Kurian
Program Leader
Athena Global Education

Nithin Kurian is an innovator and Design Thinker with experience in operations, customer success and consultancy in the Education and Information Technology sector, having worked in both corporate and startup environments. He envisages the growth of Ed-Tech ecosystems using human centered design and the efficient use of technology.

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