Emperor In August 1945, the U.S. Army went to Japan, where it took charge of rebuilding the nation it had just destroyed. Set amid the rubble… Emperor In August 1945, the U.S. Army went to Japan, where it took charge of rebuilding the nation it had just destroyed. Set amid the rubble… 2013-03-08 PG-13 PT106M Historical Matthew Fox Tommy Lee Jones Lionsgate
Movie Review

Emperor (2013)

MPAA Rating: PG-13
EMPEROR Tommy Lee Jones stars as General Douglas MacArthur in this historical war film
Image credit: Kirsty Griffin
EMPEROR Tommy Lee Jones stars as General Douglas MacArthur in this historical war film
EW's GRADE
B-

Details Release Date: Mar 08, 2013; Rated: PG-13; Length: 106 Minutes; Genre: Historical; With: Matthew Fox and Tommy Lee Jones; Distributor: Lionsgate

In August 1945, the U.S. Army went to Japan, where it took charge of rebuilding the nation it had just destroyed. Set amid the rubble of Tokyo, Emperor captures the moral paradox of that moment. Tommy Lee Jones plays Gen. Douglas MacArthur as a gruffly literate conqueror-statesman who keeps his humanity hidden, and Matthew Fox is all square-jawed silent cunning as Gen. Bonner Fellers, who is investigating whether to try Emperor Hirohito as a war criminal. 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?) makes it a rather thin dramatic experience. The film keeps cutting to flashbacks of Fellers' doomed relationship with a Japanese college student (Eriko Hatsune), and here too the romance never quite transcends the history lesson. B-

Originally posted Mar 06, 2013 Published in issue #1250 Mar 15, 2013 Order article reprints