Critic Reviews



Based on 33 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
The real star of the film is the magnetic, forceful and charismatic Matthew Fox, who steals the entire film as easily as if he were pitching a softball.
As is the case with most of the elements in Emperor, the cliches are relatively few and spaced apart, and the tearjerking and profound moments are authentic and well-earned.
Emperor is also one of those movies in which the most intriguing occurrences are revealed by "what-happened-to . . ." title cards at the finale.
Emperor explores the delicate postwar dance of revenge, justice, and realpolitik, yet its focus on the issue of Hirohito's guilt or innocence (did he order the attack on Pearl Harbor? Or did he, in fact, oppose the Japanese military machine?)
Tommy Lee Jones gives us a saltier version of MacArthur than the image-conscious general ever let on to.
The Playlist
The movie is never without forward momentum, it's just too bad when just when it's ready to go to interesting places, we jump back to Bonner and Aya's pedestrian romance.
Emperor may not be the most dazzling of history lessons, but it never treats the past as a dusty, deserted place.
Director Peter Webber, who once mined social unease from the painterly "Girl with a Pearl Earring," is out of his depth; this is a movie in desperate need of a no-nonsense Howard Hawks.
Village Voice
Given its true-life basis, the story is already devoid of suspense regarding Hirohito’s ultimate fate, and Fellers’s inquiry is made more sluggish by dramatically inert conversations with Japanese officials.
Slant Magazine
Peter Webber's historical drama is blunt about its stylistic ambitions while at the same time failing to meet them, and the effect is one of sad ineffectuality.

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