DIRECTED BY Edward Zwick
STARRING Tom Cruise, Ken Watanabe, Hiroyuki Sanada, Timothy Spall
Opens January 9, Cert 15, 154 mins
Very loosely based on the development of trade links between the US and Japan in the 1870s, signalling the end of Shogunate rule and the beginning of Japan’s Meiji Restoration era, The Last Samurai details the exploits of fictional cavalry hero Captain Nathan Algren (Cruise). Dispirited by the violence he’s inflicted on the Indian nation, Algren accepts a lucrative assignment to train Japanese riflemen. Goaded into leading an attack against rebel lord Katsumoto before his inexperienced troops are ready, Algren’s command is wiped out. Captured and studied by the fearless samurai leader, Algren finds his Western beliefs challenged and his life changed beyond recognition as he’s drawn into the bloody conflict between Katsumoto and the Japanese Emperor’s US-influenced advisors.
Ken Watanabe and Hiroyuki Sanada, as the noble Katsumoto and his unyielding super-warrior Ujio, are both fiercely charismatic, recalling Toshir