Found in Translation

Tom Cruise leaves the American frontier for the exquisite ways of old Japan in The Last Samurai

It's the same old story, a fight for love and... hmm... self-discipline? Self-realization? The getting of wisdom? Something like that.

When we meet Tom Cruise's Captain Nathan Algren in 1876, he's a wreck, drinking heavily to drown his memories of massacring Indians on the American frontier, lost in despairing cynicism. Then he's recruited to help train a modern army in Japan, the chief function of which is to put down a samurai rebellion against the new, dishonorable, Westernizing ways that his army symbolizes. In the first, brilliantly staged fight, Algren is captured by the samurai and sequestered for a long...

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