!~ [Movie] Emperor (2012)

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Post » Sun Aug 11, 2013 5:45 pm

[Movie] Emperor (2012)

I recently had a chance to watch the movie 'Emperor' and thought i'd stick up a review. In a nutshell, it's set in 1945 Japan, just after the Japanese have been bombed to hell and back, and been forced to surrender. The story follows General Fellers (Matthew Fox) who is tasked by General McArthur (aka Supreme Commanding Officer of all allied forces - played by the increasingly wrinkled Tommy Lee Jones) to try and determine whether Emperor Hirohito is in fact guilty of war crimes - the catch being that if he is, and sent to trial, the whole country could erupt in violence.

Feller's investigation is shadowed by the fact that he's a (as a fellow General puts it) - 'jap lover'. Just prior to the war, Feller's met and fell in love with a Japanese exchange student in America, embarking on a relationship that feels completely contrived. I don't know what it is about Fox - but he just doesn't do it for me. The movie splits between him undertaking investigations, chasing down former high ranking Japanese and playing a bit of a hard-ass (ie: the chain-smoking drinking hard-ass), but then there's the flashbacks to him with his Japanese love - Aya, and he comes across as an awkward nerd. I'm not sure how nerdboy then became an American general.

Then there's Tommy Lee Jones who only turns up from time to time, setting Fox to task and coming across like a piece of placed American propaganda, to let the world know that despite dropping two atom bombs on the country, and then promptly firebombing it to absolute shit, we helped the Japanese rebuild because we are America, and that's what we do.

In one argument with a former high ranker, the question is raised over Japanese aggression, pondering, why are the Japanese to be held account for what the Americans and most of Europe has been doing all along? How the Japanese are simply following their lead - and really, that's pretty much on the money.

I was interested in the movie primarily due to the time period - and coincidentally, had watched a documentary on Hiroshima's aftermath several nights previous. While I had studied World War 2 back in school (way back when) - I can barely remember the specifics around those last days in Japan, and did not actually realise that America had bombed Japan so severely - including the fire-bombing of Tokyo which left most of the city in ruins. I actually found my post-movie wiki researching more interesting than the movie itself :)

It wasn't a terrible movie, but I really was struggling, close to switching it off at several points. If you're interested in Japanese history, particularly around World War 2, then it might be worth checking out, but beyond that, I wouldn't really bother.

2 Stars
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