From a European point of view, honor and dying in battle is looked down upon. We could say it’s not true, we could lie to ourselves saying “we are honorable and perfect”; we are not.
There is another argument, a quite popular one: Japanese people also cheat, steal and hurt each other therefore they must not be better than us – a nice racionalization, I have to give credit for it.
I watched a popular American film critique’s show about The Last Samurai, seeing that he was/is unable to comprehend the main moral of the story: honor above all.
Some people don’t like Tom Cruise, saying he lost all credit when joined the scientologists but that doesn’t change the fact that he is a decent actor and made me believe his transformation from an honorless American to a samurai was true (in the film of course, silly).
However this film is not about characters or story, but rather an introduction to being a samurai, a soldier of honor; living a life of descipline.
The film starts with introducing a strange culture that seems stupid and silly then proceeds to try changing the viewer’s mind and opinion about said culture.
I don’t think it succeeds – but not because it would be a bad film. I believe Europeans and Americans who gave up walking on the hard path of honor long ago, will not change their minds solely because of a film, even if it gives a proper description of Japanese culture and the way of the samurai.
Every time I watch this movie, one thing comes to mind: honor is free, thus it is worthless in a capitalist society.
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