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Joe Shiren

In a series of busting bubbles

Joe Shiren

In a series of busting bubbles
The Emperor in August japanese movie review
The Emperor in August
1 people found this review helpful
by Joe Shiren
Apr 25, 2020
Overall 9.0
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 10.0
Music 8.5
Rewatch Value 9.0
This is a remake of 1967 film "Japan's Longest Day" which starred all the great names of Japan at that time - Chishu Ryu, Mifune Toshio, Shimura Takashi, and Yamamura So, etc. I haven't seen the original one but I can say both are great movies, judging from their box office records and list of accolades.

This is not a typical war movie filled with battle scene actions or tactical and strategical insights, but it gives you thrilling feeling no less than those movies. To compare it, this movie is a war drama like "Darkest Hour" - incidentally, both countries were in the national emergency (though timing were different), bringing the firefighters to form new cabinet and overcome the situation.

Regarding the story, in the interview with Japan Times, the director stated that he did as much as he can to stay true to the original book than the previous one, and this is believable. One main difference between the previous and remake is the role of the Emperor. Note that Emperor Showa was still reigning in 1967 (so were several personnel involved in Suzuki cabinet and Kyujo incident), and hence it's possible that to avoid controversies, the Emperor character was given less screen time, even crediting as special appearance. It is a story from Japanese perspective (but I grantee it is not biased), after-all it is all about internal struggles and situations inside wartime Japanese government.

The names like Yakusho Koji, Tsutsumi Shinichi, Motoki Masahiro and Yamazaki Tsutomu (Departures cast), always deliver the best of them. Matsuzaka Tori is also perfect fit as a young, aggressive officer with war-time (propaganda-influenced) mentality. Rivalry between Army and Navy, factionalism inside army, mindset and thinking of military personnel, intensity and tumultuous situation of the period are superbly portrayed by all the characters. The more you delve into history, the more you appreciate the acting and storytelling of this movie.

The movie may not fit for an average viewer (especially for those who do not know or have interest in WW2 and Japanese history, or at least background situations), but this is a true gem for history geeks.
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