In 1942 British soldier Jack Celliers comes to a Japanese prison camp. The camp is run by Yonoi, who has a firm belief in discipline, honor and glory. In his view, the allied prisoners are ... See full summary »
Set during Japan's Shogun era, this film looks at life in a samurai compound where young warriors are trained in swordfighting. A number of interpersonal conflicts are brewing in the ... See full summary »
A young man has an affair with an older woman. He is very jealous of her husband and decides that they should kill him. One night, after the husband had plenty of sake to drink and was in ... See full summary »
Based on a true story set in pre-war Japan, a man and one of his servants begin a torrid affair. Their desire becomes a sexual obsession so strong that to intensify their ardor, they ... See full summary »
After World War I, a war hero returns to Berlin to find that there's no place for him--he has no skills other than what he learned in the army, and can only find menial, low-paying jobs. He decides to become a gigolo to lonely rich women.
Thomas Jerome Newton is a humanoid alien who comes to Earth to get water for his dying planet. He starts a high technology company to get the billions of dollars he needs to build a return ... See full summary »
This movie documents the Apollo missions perhaps the most definitively of any movie under two hours. Al Reinert watched all the footage shot during the missions--over 6,000,000 feet of it, ... See full summary »
Ex-gangster Willie Parker has betrayed his former "colleagues" and now lives in Spain where he thinks he can hide from their vengeance. But one day, ten years later, two hitmen (Braddock ... See full summary »
The setting is Vienna. A young American woman is brought to a hospital after overdosing on pills, apparently in a suicide attempt. A police detective suspects foul play on the part of her ... See full summary »
In 1942 British soldier Jack Celliers comes to a Japanese prison camp. The camp is run by Yonoi, who has a firm belief in discipline, honor and glory. In his view, the allied prisoners are cowards when they chose to surrender instead of committing suicide. One of the prisoners, interpreter John Lawrence, tries to explain the Japanese way of thinking, but is considered a traitor. Written by
Laurens Van der Post, the author of this film's source novel "The Seed and The Sower", once said of this filmed adaptation of his novel: "This is a great and deeply moving film. The only war film I have ever seen that does not exploit the surface drama and horrifics of war, but penetrates into the origins and meaning of war in the human spirit. Moreover, it is honest and brave, and looks with the same unevasive and unblinking eyes into the character of Japanese and Europeans alike." See more »
In the final scene in the prison cell, the cross belt of Lt Col Lawrence's Sam Browne is fitted back to front. See more »
Based on Laurens van der Post's "The Seed and the Sower", "Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence" is an involving, almost unbearably moving and incredibly humane film. While Bowie toplines, the real star is Tom Conti as the eponymous British Officer trying to reconcile his respect for Japanese culture and innate humanity with the barbarity of the POW camp. Bowie has often been criticised for his acting, yet aside from a rather laughable flashback sequence where he impersonates a schoolboy, he is convincing as a mysterious and spirited "soldier's soldier" who has a beguiling effect on the young officer commanding the camp, played by Ryuichi Sakamoto, who quotes Shakespeare and issues brutal orders in almost the same breath.
Sakamoto, who is also a pioneer of electronic music with the Yellow Magic Orchestra, also wrote the soundtrack, including the famous "Forbidden Colours" theme (you probably know this even if you don't know where it's from) which conjures up the atmosphere of regret, lost love and repressed heartbreak in which we see the strange, unrequited love of Sakamoto's character for Bowie's. This film is about this impossible unrequited love and about the struggle of human values in wartime. As Lawrence (Conti) says to a Japanese Officer facing execution after the war; he is now the victim of "men who are sure they are right", just as in the camp the Japanese were sure they were right. The last scene between the decent, humane Lawrence and this officer, who was by turns hearty and brutal in the camp, is one of the most heartbreaking ever committed to celluloid.
32 of 37 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?