Friday, January 23, 2004

Mo money mo problems

According to Sara, The Last Samurai (or Last of the Summer Wine as it's hilariously known in our house) has Oscar buzz.

The film takes you to back to Japan (not China as stated in earlier editions) about 150 years ago. It's a country in flux; battling the implications of a modernisation programme. Japan's ancient social structures and traditions are being dismantled by a few greedy bureaucrats who see riches in an arms deal with the US. Agreeing to buy the modern weaponry not only secures a trade agreement but supplies the westernised bureaucrats with an arsenal powerful enough to destroy the arcane Samurai that stand in their way. US vets are brought in to train a ramshackle army of Japanese conscripts. Japan gets rich, destroying the samurai and losing its identity in the process. It's all very zeitgeisty, an imperialist regime imposes an ideology at odds with the natural law of a society, only to suffer a cataclysmic cultural kick back. Or something to that effect.

Sounds good doesn't it? Lavish sets, historical context, intricate plotlines; it's got Oscar buzz written all over it.

And then there's Tom Cruise, the westerner thrust into the lost culture, battling the language barrier, struggling to understand the customs played out around him. Is he the silent observer whose battles the contradictions in his head? Nah, he's the most powerful actor in Hollywood, no such understatement here, after all nobody says no to Tom Cruise.

• Nobody says no to the fact he has to become a samurai
• Nobody says no to the fact he's the last samurai
• Nobody says no to the fact he has to be the best samurai there ever was
• Nobody bothers to explain whether an attack by a gang of ninjas is a government backed assassination attempt on the village's powerful leader (BORING!) or a vehicle for Cruise to get cool with a sword.
• Nobody says no to Cruise bucking a thousand years of tradition by turning Japan's Emperor from a distant and impassive demi-god into a compassionate humanist by the power of one well constructed monologue
• Nobody says no to Cruiso endlessly winning mock training fights with other samurai whilst ignoring the sub plot of rampant westernisation happening in Yokahama
• Nobody says no to Cruise falling in love with the only young woman in the village
• Nobody says no to her falling in love with him despite the fact he killed her husband
• Nobody says no to Cruise turning her from the brink of suicide to unstinting love by saying he was 'sorry'
• Nobody says no to Cruise standing with a horse in the middle of a mountain range as the film closes
Nobody, presumably, will say no to him getting an Oscar for this pile of self indulgent shite. The nob.


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