by Andrew Lansdown
Anyone who has seen The Last Samurai can easily understand why it has been nominated for four Academy Awards (best art direction, best costume design, best sound and best supporting actor). It is an outstanding film about a disillusioned American soldier, Captain Algren (played by Tom Cruise), who goes to Japan in 1876 to help modernise and train an army for the Emperor. He knows nothing of the samurai, the enemy he is about to face. Then in his first battle against them he is taken captive. Thus begins his (and our) discovery of the samurai and their way of life.
And what a discovery it is! I doubt that anyone could watch the film without feeling a sense of admiration for those warriors of ancient Japan.