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The Last Samurai

The Last Samurai (2003)

December. 05,2003
| Drama Action War

Nathan Algren is an American hired to instruct the Japanese army in the ways of modern warfare, which finds him learning to respect the samurai and the honorable principles that rule them. Pressed to destroy the samurai's way of life in the name of modernization and open trade, Algren decides to become an ultimate warrior himself and to fight for their right to exist.


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Yawn. Poorly Filmed Snooze Fest.


Highly Overrated But Still Good


The film creates a perfect balance between action and depth of basic needs, in the midst of an infertile atmosphere.

Aneesa Wardle

The story, direction, characters, and writing/dialogue is akin to taking a tranquilizer shot to the neck, but everything else was so well done.


Edward Zwick's The Last Samurai is, without a doubt, one of the best films I've ever watched. The battle scenes are gorgeous and so realistic , with a refreshing lack of CGI. However, the story and the evolving friendship of Tom Cruise's and Ken Watanabe's characters are the aspects that make you love the movie and feel atached to it. Such and emotional and fun ride can't just be found nowadays. Masterpiece!


The passion, the reality that we see in the characters, the plot, the music, the performance, everything is just perfect. Impossible to dislike this movie. Tom Cruise at his best. You really gets into the characters and the plot, you feel part of the cause, you can even feel the honor of the samurais. This is not a movie, this is real art.

Nick Dron

"The perfect blossom is a rare thing. You could spend your life looking for one, and it would not be a wasted life." - Katsumoto It is probably one of the saddest and most inevitable things in this world - war. And though war should not be tolerated at all, a civil war - when brother goes against brother, when those who share the same history, culture and language go one against another, this kind of war is the most horrible and painful. "The Last Samurai", an epic action movie directed by Edward Zwick, is enlightening the events that took place in The Land of the Rising Sun of the late 19th century. The main character, Captain Nathan Algren, a lonely tortured soldier who's been trying to redeem his life back from the atrocities and nightmares of war is being dragged into the whirlpool of a new one far away from his homeland. Times are changing fast, and dictated by the examples of other countries Japan is gradually but firmly going from the old native "samurai-like" way of life country to a modern technological western style of living. "Progress is a stepping stone of civilization" - some say, but it doesn't mean that civilization itself progresses. Samurais, as the eternal symbol of the Japanese culture and as its guardians protest against the changes that civilization brings. Railroads, western cloth and food, western buildings and technologies, firearms and war tactics - all this might seem to be building a strong country ready to enter the international arena, but these things also tend to consume everything that Japan represents of itself - dedication, discipline, spirituality, philosophy. Katsumoto - the last leader of the samurai clan is trying to convince the emperor in his wrong choice of blindly following all modern tendencies and letting the country be corrupted by capitalism that hides under the mask of industrialization. Allowing other nations to have influence over Japan can be a crucial decision that might lead it onto the road of full obedience and dependence from other "world players". But will his words ever reach the emperor's ears, will he ever be able to keep the legacy of his ancestors... is he alone in this fight? The movie focuses on the most important changes in the Japanese society in the late 19th century and tries to show it from the standpoint of the main hero, American captain, who happens to be very far from understanding everything Japan stands on at first, but ends as one who has found peace and comfort in a culture as distant as America and Japan are on the world map. The directors' work is great - displaying every bit of the eastern culture and lifestyle in a slow pace really makes us almost "taste" the spirit of the Samurai Epoch. Same can be said of the operators' work - paying much attention to details, whether it's a battle scene or a peaceful one, you will see the whole spectrum of events under different angles and from different points. Actors' work doesn't stop to surprise: Tom Cruise in the skin of Captain Algren - firm veteran of war, who has taken his part in suppressing the Indian rebellion during his war career and already has many sins haunting his mind making him be ashamed of who he has become; Ken Watanabe as Katsumoto - a true samurai by blood and by his heart, dedicated, strong and unbendable, the one who has the strength to follow his way of worldview and to lead others by his example; so different and yet so same, both are children of war, only, one saw it as a merciless, gruesome and unjustly slaughtering reaper, the other - as the way of ideals, morality, perfection, discipline, philosophy, virtue,.. and as the true way of the sword. Their distant roads have crossed to make them both understand what the destiny of a true warrior is. Secondary heroes like Billy Connolly (as Sergeant Zeb), Tony Goldwyn (as Colonel Bagley), Masato Harada (as Mr. Omura), Timothy Spall (as Simon Graham) and Hiroyuki Sanada (as Ujio) also deserve to be praised for building strong supporting characters and the background atmosphere of the movie. Writing is screaming of majestic delight, unique vision and philosophical beauty. You will probably never find another action movie which concentrates its plot around religion, culture and spirituality that much as this one, and not only concentrates, but depicts it in the most harmonic way possible. Costume design, sets and decorations, makeup, special effects, fighting choreography, staging, views and heavenly gorgeous landscapes of The Land of the Rising Sun - everything is on the impeccable level, interweaving with one another draws a picture of splendid beauty and strikes into your memory forever. Nothing less to expect from a "hundred-million-dollar" Hollywood movie with not only technical quality, but a lot of heart in it. The original score. Hans Zimmer. Not many words can describe this cosmic sublimity. It's like lying on a soft cloud with a cotton moon as a pillow, covered with blanket made of mild night with shining stars and angels are coming down from the sky singing lullaby and rocking you to sleep. It's a pure magic dream, where violin is a cloud, flute is a moon, trumpet is a blanket and the angel's voices are a mix of shakuhachi, taiko drums and other national Japanese instruments. Beautifully calm and violently stormy, starting with delicate koto melody, than letting the drums and percussions take over turning the mood from the softly-sweet to the battle-ready, the music emphasizes the spirit of every scene as it accompany the viewer through the film. Taking the breathtaking "Way of the Sword" track at the final battle scene - while bullets fly around, Algren holds dying Katsumoto in his arms and music becomes especially tender as though symbolizing his departure and a relief from all the hardships and duties he bared through his life. Fascinatingly crafted Asian-like music - "The Last Samurai's" original score will rightfully take its place among the Hans Zimmer's finest works. 4 Oskar nominees (Best Supporting Actor, Best Decorations, Best Costumes, Best Sound Mixing) and dozens of other awards and nominations... philosophical, touching, captive - "The Last Samurai" will forever be on the list of the most brilliant movie works of our time!


Last Samurai is one of the best movies I've ever seen. Tom Cruise as Nathan Algren is brilliant.The development of the relationship between Algren and Taka and her sons was beautiful to see. Also a fantastic part of the film was the music.In my opinion it is a wonderful film about humanity and identity in a globalized world, even if maybe there are some mistakes in the way it portrays Japanese culture in 19th century.