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08 November 2011


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Great review. You the man.

Eastwood hasnt been worth a damn, since he made that touchy feely love movie to show his senseitivity.

Medicine Man

Regrettably I haven't seen any of the last 4 movies you've reviewed on SST, Mr. Farrell, so my commentary will be limited (or more so than usual), I'm afraid.

While I don't have anything against Clint Eastwood - he's directed a few movies I thought were great films - I have to admit that the premise from this one sounds dreadful. The key flaw you nailed in two words: cultural relativism. Unless its Clint's intention to "debunk" the wartime propaganda about the Imperial Japanese, his decision to whitewash their brutal conduct in WW2 is terribly irresponsible. I'm slow, but I now understand why you reviewed a Chinese and Japanese perspective on the Japanese conduct in WW2 before tackling Eastwood. Odd (well, not in China's case, I guess) that neither of them were even half as forgiving as Clint.

I may watch these two Eastwood flicks at some point but it sounds like I'll be watching them to critique them, not enjoy them. Damn disappointing... because you know that a movie that accurately depicted the racial bigotry, fanaticism, and brutality of the Imperial Japanese while also showing them to be human could be a powerful film, but only with a deft hand at the camera and faith that the audience can absorb seemingly contradictory ideas without fainting. I guess Clint was just too sentimental to risk it.


Great review. Thanks. Personally, I rather liked the movie, although Eastwood did clearly oversentimentalize the Japanese side too much: sadly, making "the other" look too "nice" as if to make up for jingoism of the past seems to have become too chic in Hollywood these days. Still, LfIJ didn't stoop to the level of overglamorizing the other the way some other films have (e.g. the Last Samurai, where a bunch of obscurantist relics of feudalism fighting the army of peasants whom they used to oppress are made to look like heroes) or so I thought and I figure it's not easy for a westerner to strike the right balance.

Paul Escobar

Is the problem really "cultural relativism"?
As I understand it, that concept encourages you to investigate context before passing moral judgement. It doesn't claim "it's all good".

The problem is that Clint Eastwood takes the neo-conservative bait.

The neo-conservatives claimed that we could insert ourselves anywhere simply because we were "culturally superior". It was the sort of reasoning you'd expect from a pedophile tainting the cloth.

Rather than attack the heart of their argument (that culture superiority alone justifies intervention), Clint Eastwood hopes to save the victims by arguing they're just as superior...if not more so.


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This more or less what occur to me.  Didn’t mind Letters and don’t mind that the Japanese soldier gets his version of story told.  Somebody (them or us) need to investigate how it happen that civilized men do such things (acculturation,
mass hysteria, order, bushido… whaaaaa?).  I’ve seen any number of my buds, isolated and exiled for their participation in Vietnam, Republic of war, slip over to the other side and embrace civilian positon, not out of conviction but out of loneliness.  I don’t
really have a positon my own self and can appreciate the other, but can’t accede to a conversion for the simple sake companionship/social entrée.  Anyhow.  Didn’t care much for Unforgiven, either, Oscar or not, for much same reason. All best from out here
in deserto.  Attaching my review of Last Samurai similar vein, AFF



"Attaching my review of Last Samurai similar vein" Where? pl

Medicine Man

I'm going to have to think this over, Mr. Farrell, and maybe pick your brain about Unforgiven at some point. It sounds like you saw an equivalency there that I didn't. Maybe a good topic for later.

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