The Last Samurai

Nathan Algren has decided to join Katsumoto’s resistance after perceiving that the Emperor is sort of puppet to Omura.

Self-discovery is a mystery. We can never know where and when we will gain understanding about our own character. What is left for us is a painstaking and endless effort to get the outcomes since, basically, everyone is blessed by the courage to claim his birthright. One thing for sure, no revolution occurs during steady moment; mainly due to an anxious personality will not be able to establish peaceful situation surrounding him. The journey of self-discovery is the main topic in The Last Samurai, a film starring Tom Cruise and Ken Watanabe as the leading characters released in 2003.

The Last Samurai is opened by a scene in which Capt. Nathan Algren (Tom Cruise) is about to demonstrate the newly invented rifle. The man has very low self-esteem caused by his past actions as officer of the United States 7th Cavalry Regiment to Indian people. He has no friends but alcohol and regret until the day when he has Col Bagley (Tony Goldwyn), an active army officer, and Omura (Masato Harada), a Japanese businessman having close tie with Emperor Meiji (Shichinosuke Nakamura). The latter wants to ask his favor to train the newly established Imperial Japanese Army in order to successfully suppress a samurai-headed rebellion against the Emperor. Being financially poor and has nothing to lose, Nathan Algren then goes to Japan accompanied by Sergeant Zebulon Gant (Bill Connolly), his best friends. Once he arrives in Japan, he has Simon Graham (Timothy Spall) in his company. The British guy knows a lot, especially about the life of Samurai, and always accompanies him while visiting the Emperor. Nathan Algren is shocked to discover that the army is composed of untrained persons and peasants who know nothing about guns, strategy, arms, and war. There comes another horror session when Omura insists on launching an attack towards Samurai led by Lord Moritsugu Katsumoto (Ken Watanabe). The result is predictable; Nathan Algren loses the battle and Gant is killed.

Being unconscious after launching self-defense, he is then brought to Katsumoto’s village. There, he makes many progress such as learning Japanese and the custom, the way Samurai lives, and stop consuming alcoholic drinks. He then builds friendship and brotherhood with Katsumoto and notable figures in the village such as Ujio (Hiroyuki Sanada), Nobutada (Shin Koyamada), The Silent Samurai (Seizo Fukumoto), and a beautiful woman named Taka (Koyuki Kato) whose husband was a Samurai killed by Algren. Nathan gains respect of the neighbourhood after helping Katsumoto’s family from being killed by a group of ninjas sent by Omura. Lord Moritsugu Katsumoto then granted safe passage to the Emperor. The conflict is getting more intense after Omura orders Katsumoto to perform seppuku and offers Nathan Algren to lead the newly established army to fight against the samurai. After rescuing Katsumoto, Nathan and Samurai of the neighborhood launch physical attack towards Omura’s army which is now led by Col Bagley and highly equipped with modern war machine. The Samurai have no other option but fight bravely in order to get their honor back.

The Last Samurai portrays Japan during Meiji Restoration in 19th century, and inspired by a series of actual events at that time. However, it is Nathan Algren the main character of this movie along with Ken Watanabe and Hiroyuki Sanada. As a colossal film, The Last Samurai managed to perfectly mix drama, action, political intrigue, wisdom and heroism into a single work. It is said to have reached USD 456 millions profit, and has boosted the name Tom Cruise and Ken Watanabe. The main reason why you should put the movie directed by Edward Zwick into the list of your favorite movies or collection is because it manages to transform personal discovery into mass action and colossal performance. It might be about Nathan Algren at first, but the character has integrated himself into larger community of noble values and fights back against greed and persecution done by Omura. Nathan might have left his previous world, but countless opportunity and doors have been opened for him. The Last Samurai is unquestionably one of the best movies ever created.


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