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"After the war was won, the battle for peace began."
  • PG-13
  • 2013
  • 1 hr 38 min
  • 6.5  (14,807)
  • 48

Emperor is a historical drama film set in 1945 during the aftermath of World War II. The movie tells the story of General Bonner Fellers (Matthew Fox), a member of the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces, General Douglas MacArthur's (Tommy Lee Jones) team, who is tasked with investigating Emperor Hirohito's (Takataro Kataoka) role in the war's atrocities.

The film begins with the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, leading up to the Japanese surrender in 1945. We see Fellers' character struggling with his personal connections to Japan and his duty to bring about justice. He has a personal relationship with Aya (Eriko Hatsune), a Japanese exchange student he met in America before the war. Flashbacks of their time together are interspersed throughout the movie as Fellers tries to come to terms with his feelings.

Fellers' investigation starts with pressing questions: to hang the Emperor for war crimes or not. MacArthur sees the Emperor as part of Japan's cultural identity and believes that his trial or execution would lead to a civil war within Japan, making it difficult for the US to implement their democracy agenda. Fellers is tasked with investigating Hirohito's role in the war crimes and gathering evidence to support MacArthur's stance.

Fellers goes to Japan to investigate the crimes committed during the war where he seeks the help of a Japanese translator, Takahashi (Colin Moy). Takahashi is initially reluctant to cooperate with Fellers due to the language barrier and the fact that he is Japanese, but Fellers manages to convince him to help.

As the investigation progresses, Fellers uncovers a web of lies and deception orchestrated by the Japanese government to cover up their role in the war crimes. He also begins to reconsider his views about Japan and its people. His friendship with Takahashi, who is revealed to be Aya's brother, becomes a symbol of hope for reconciliation between nations devastated by war.

Emperor's greatest strength is its multi-faceted exploration of several themes. The movie delves into Japanese culture, highlighting its values, traditions, and beliefs. It also explores the nuances of personal relationships deeply affected by the war, including Feller's with Takahashi and Aya.

The movie also depicts moments of tension and conflict between the two cultures, leading to a complex examination of history and its impact on humanity. The portrayal of the events leading up to the Japanese surrender is thought-provoking, leading moviegoers to question both the United States' and Japan's roles in the war.

The casting is excellent, with Matthew Fox delivering a captivating performance as Fellers. His internal conflict and the complexities of his character are portrayed with great finesse. Tommy Lee Jones as General MacArthur delivers his lines with a powerful presence, embodying the character's grandeur and authority. Colin Moy, on the other hand, portrays a sympathetic and relatable character with surprising depth.

The cinematography is also superb, with sweeping shots of Japanese landscapes and cities, transporting viewers back in time. The costuming and set design are likewise top-notch, accurately depicting the era and culture.

Overall, Emperor is a well-crafted historical drama that explores complex themes, including war, personal relationships, and international politics. The movie challenges viewers to consider their own beliefs about war and peace, cultural differences, and even the role of leaders in shaping diplomatic history. The movie captures the essence of the Japanese-American relationship and serves as a reminder of the tragedy of war and the power of reconciliation.

Emperor is a 2013 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 38 minutes. It has received mostly poor reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.5 and a MetaScore of 48.

Where to Watch Emperor
Emperor is available to watch free on The Roku Channel Free, Tubi TV, Kanopy and YouTube. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Amazon Prime, Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube VOD and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Emperor for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 38 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.5  (14,807)
  • Metascore