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Emperor

6/10

Stars: Matthew Fox, Tommy Lee Jones, Toshiyuki Nishida, Eriko Hatsune, Masayoshi Haneda, Colin Moy, Maori Momoi, Aaron Jackson, Nick Sampson, Will Wallace, Stephen Papps, Michaela Rooney, Stephen Hall

Director: Peter Webber

In 1945, after the Japanese surrender at the end of World War Two, General Douglas MacArthur (Jones) was handed the tricky task of determining whether or not the young Emperor Hirohito (Takatar├┤ Kataoka) should be tried for war crimes.

MacArthur in turn delegates General Bonner Fellers (Fox), a man with known Japanese connections, to discover if the emperor actually initiated the beginning of hostilities between Japan and the US with the bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1941.

Fellers himself has a hidden agenda: to find out what happened to the girl (Hatsune) he met at college in 1932 and with whom he had a brief but idyllic affair some eight years later.

Apart from a rather unlikely barroom brawl, what follows is solid storytelling, useful as a historical document if quite slow at times, these periods underlined by tinkling piano music.

The stalwart Fox is perfectly competent, as is Haneda as his Japanese interpreter - though Fellers occasionally surprises his interviewees by revealing that he speaks Japanese - while Jones chews the scenery a bit (as well as his character's famous clay pipe) as the thoughtful popinjay MacArthur, a role that, as written, calls for just such an approach.

David Quinlan

USA 2013. UK Distributor: The Works. Colour by deluxe.
105 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 02 Oct 2013