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Emperor (2013) Reviewed By Jay

United States, 08 March 2013


Jay´s Review

At the conclusion of the War in the Pacific ("V J Day," for those old enough to remember), the Allied forces had a dilemma: Should the Emperor of Japan (the Emperor of the Chrysanthemum Throne) be tried (and hung) for war crimes? Few of us gave it a moment's consideration at the time, but here is a thought-provoking drama that examines the issue.

It stars:

  • * Tommy Lee Jones ("Lincoln") as General Douglas MacArthur, tasked with reconstructing Japan, writing a constitution and restoring the economy. (Plus MacArthur really wants to run for President of the United States.) Is Jones getting all the good parts lately, or does he just make his parts seem that good?
  • * Matthew Fox ("Alex Cross") as General Bonner Fellers, the guy who understands that if Emperor Hirohito is hung, an insurrection will be inevitable and the war will NOT be over. Fox does great suppressed rage. Watch for it!
  • * Eriko Hatsune ("Norwegian Wood") as Aya, the sweetheart Fellers met in college where she was an exchange student, but now long missing in the tumult of war.

The political issues are clearly stated, the situation is engrossing, the PG-13 dialogue is realistic, and a key statement in Japanese, by a Japanese official, has very legible captions in English. Whew!

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