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Philippines Vacation : Travel Guide And Memoir by [Rundell, Marina]

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  The Last Samurai Film Review
December 26, 2003

Every now and then a movie comes out with the word, "Last," on it.

Whenever the word, “Last,” is added into the title of a movie, there is always something significantly sad, interesting, historically curious about the word that comes after it.

For example, there was The Last Emperor, when he slits his wrists to end his life, and then there was The Last Of The Mohicans, when he jumps off the cliff from a mountain to a spiritually-filled fall, and now in 2003, The Last Of The Samurai, where he kills himself to regain his honor according to custom.

All of these “lasts” occur, interestingly enough, because of modern life and the new kind of warfare that comes with it.  And these “lasts” are not making a connection with modern life that will make it possible for them to continue to exist or to continue being the “leaders of their lands.”  

However, in Samurai, Katsumoto does confront the emperor’s acceptance of the “sword” at the council scene and the emperor remains silent—and it does not help that his adviser is denouncing the Samurai.  So there was a conscious choice here.  This is emphasized by the fact that everyone at the council was dressed in western clothing while Katsumoto arrives in Samurai armor.

Thus, while it is sad to realize how these “lasts” must end, there is a sense of the loss of a part of humanity as a whole, and like the emperor, we all have some part in turning our backs to those good things that the “lasts” can stand for.  I was able to see through the point of view of Cruise’s character.   

The character of Tom Cruise in this movie is significant because he represents a part of modern life that does like and appreciate the ways of the “lasts.”  That is, he sees them as human beings and not as savages that are "bad" because they are not "modern."  And because of this, he is a tortured soul, who also is out of place among his kind, like the Samurai. 

Tom Cruise, as the star, did excellent in this movie.  Also, all the supporting cast acted their parts well.

 

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