Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence

Watch Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence

"Java, 1942— A clash of cultures, a test of the human spirit."
  • R
  • 1983
  • 1 hr 58 min
  • 7.2  (19,452)
  • 53

Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence is a stunning 1983 World War II drama, directed by Nagisa Ōshima, that follows the lives of four prisoners of war in a Japanese camp in Java during the Second World War. The film is based on a novel called The Seed and the Sower by Sir Laurens van der Post, who was a prisoner of war himself during the conflict.

The movie stars some of the era's biggest talents, David Bowie, Tom Conti, Ryuichi Sakamoto, and Takeshi Kitano, who all give outstanding performances. Bowie, who had very few acting credits to his name at the time, plays Major Jack 'Strafer' Celliers, a British officer who is captured by the Japanese and sent to the prison camp. After his arrival, he instantly engages in a psychological battle of wills with the camp's brutal commandant, Captain Yonoi (Sakamoto). Meanwhile, Conti plays Lieutenant Colonel John Lawrence, a peace-loving mediator who aims to establish communication between the prisoners and their captors.

The film provides a masterful examination of cultural conflicts between Japanese and Western cultures and highlights the outrageous behavior and inhumanity perpetuated through attempts at control and superiority.

The cinematography of the film is nothing short of breathtaking, capturing the haunting beauty of the Indonesian landscapes and the grim realities of a prisoner-of-war camp. The score of the film is also worth mentioning, as it was composed and performed by Sakamoto, who won the Academy Award for Best Original Score for this film. With his score, Sakamoto adds an eerie and surreal dimension to an already hypnotic movie.

Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence is not your average war movie. Instead, the film delves into the psychological turmoil of those captured and the emotional tensions that arise when different nationalities and people of different beliefs are thrown together under duress.

The performances in the movie are exceptional, especially those of Bowie and Sakamoto. Bowie's film debut is nothing less than impressive, and his portrayal of the stoic, enigmatic Strafer is one of the movie's highlights. Meanwhile, Sakamoto, who also co-stars in the film, gives a haunting performance as the conflicted Commandant Yonoi.

The Japanse actors are equally as impressive, particularly Kitano, who plays Sergeant Hara, one of Yonoi's officers, who tries to find ways through which the prisoners can be ruled by the Japanese with more humanity.

In conclusion, Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence is a masterpiece of cinema, and powerful, thought-provoking, and visually stunning movie is a perfect illustration of the horrors of war and the real human cost of power struggles. The film boasts a standout cast, with Bowie's exceptional acting skills shining even brighter next to the incredible talents of Sakamoto, Conti, and Kitano. This film is an essential for those interested in brilliant performances, captivating visuals, and profound storytelling.

Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence is a 1983 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 58 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.2 and a MetaScore of 53.

Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence
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Where to Watch Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence
Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence is available to watch, stream, download and buy on demand at Amazon. Some platforms allow you to rent Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
    1983
  • MPAA Rating
    R
  • Runtime
    1 hr 58 min
  • Language
    English
  • IMDB Rating
    7.2  (19,452)
  • Metascore
    53