5 October 2013 4:05 PM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Tommy Lee Jones enlivens a postwar drama about the fate of Japan's Emperor Hirohito, but little else does

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Tommy Lee Jones's pipe-chewing scowl may dominate the publicity posters for this stodgy post-second-world-war drama, but his salty General MacArthur plays second fiddle to Matthew Fox's altogether more boring beefcake General Fellers, brought in to decide whether Emperor Hirohito should be convicted for war crimes after the Japanese surrender in 1945.

At best, this functions as a by-the-numbers primer for the lead-up to Pearl Harbor, and raises important questions about rebuilding rather than destroying defeated nations – a timely subject. At worst, it drifts into sub-Michael Bay territory, with the complexity of Us-Japanese relations reduced to a boggy romance between two-dimensional characters whose fate becomes an unavoidable casualty of war.

Hokey monologues about the finger of historical blame are interspersed with perfume-ad flashbacks to »

- Mark Kermode

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