Movies are many things; they are fun, they are thrilling, they are grand and so on. But a handful of movies are more than that; they provide a glimpse, a window into a world that existed centuries ago. They show us something that has no parallel in today's world; something that is hard to relate to. They act as a record of a lost feeling. The Last Samurai is a movie about honor. Though honor is a virtue that still exists today, its not the same as what it was centuries ago.
There are a number of war movies which touch on subjects like freedom and conquests. But honor, is an entirely different subject altogether. Its a virtue that is both hard to explain and hard to understand. Still, the movie brings it out beautifully. Katsumoto played by Ken Watanabe is a perfect embodiment of honor. His character is probably the first thing that will come to my mind when I think of the word 'honor'. The movie is narrated from the view of Nathan Algren played brilliantly by Tom Cruise. His character adds the necessary punch for Ken's character.
Performances aside, I've always believed its the director who should get the first credit/criticism for any movie. This movie is by Edward Zwick. Though I've seen the movie a number of times, I never really made a note of this name. So, I checked imdb today and was pleasantly surprised when I saw names like Blood Diamond, The Siege and Glory under his direction. How did I not know about him for so long! Got to check out more of his films. By the way, music is Hans Zimmer; it was his 100th movie, to be precise.
I really hope that one day, someone will make a proper tamizh movie that expresses similar feelings. Imagine, an old age war movie starring Kamal, Parthiban, Napolean etc. with music by Ilayaraja. Just wishful thinking.. :P