Break out the popcorn because it’s time for the movie of the week! This week’s movie is ‘The Last Samurai’ from 2003. The movie follows Captain Nathan Algren, an American Civil War veteran who has been traumatized by his experience. He now plies his trade telling war stories and taking part in gun shows, which worsens his mental state and drives him to drink. Upon losing his job for his constant drinking Algren receives an offer from his former commander who he hates and blames for his post-traumatic stress. He’s offered a job on behalf of a Japanese businessman who wants him to help train the Meiji restoration government’s new western-style army and destroy the remaining Samurai. Early on in the training, Algren is ordered to stop a samurai attack on a railroad, however, his soldiers are still untrained and are utterly defeated by the samurai. Algren is taken as a prisoner of war and spared as the leader of the samurai, Katsumoto, is determined to know more about his enemy. As Algren continues to spend time with the samurai, he eventually embraces Bushido and Japanese culture and fights with the samurai against the imperial army.
Starring Tom Cruise and Ken Watanabe, this historical drama depicts an action-packed tale surrounding the Meiji restoration and the impact that westernization had on traditional Japanese culture. The movie received positive feedback regarding it’s depiction of Japan and it’s culture as ‘Much better than previous American attempts.’ Despite originally not being well received, it has grown on many audiences and has now established itself as one of the better pictures of the early 2000’s and one of Cruise’s best performances. Break out the Netflix Party for this one because it’s not one for anyone to miss!