Last Samurai Essay

308 Words2 Pages
In the summer of 1876, Captain Nathan Algren (Tom Cruise), is a disenchanted ex-United States Army captain and an alcoholic. He has been traumatized by his experience fighting in the Civil War and the Indian Wars. In the years following his army service, Algren makes his living by telling war stories to gun show audiences in San Francisco, an experience which further hampers his mental state and stimulates him to drink. Fed up with Algren's perpetual drunkenness, his employer fires him. Algren reluctantly accepts an invitation from his former commanding officer Colonel Bagley (Tony Goldwyn), whom Algren deeply hates and blames for his waking nightmares about his role in Indian massacres. On behalf of a Japanese businessman, Mr. Omura (Masato Harada), Bagley offers him a job helping the new Meiji Restoration government train its new Western-style Imperial Japanese Army. Japan is in the middle of drastic civil change and the new Western-style additions to society have not gone unopposed. The samurai are conducting an insurrection against the modernization campaign, which has motivated Omura to seek Bagley's assistance. Under the command of Bagley, Algren and his companions travel to Japan. They are assisted by Algren's former army colleague Sergeant Zebulon Gant (Billy Connolly) and Simon Graham (Timothy Spall), a British translator with a deep interest in the samurai. The newly-formed Japanese Army is formed of poorly-trained and equipped conscripts, peasants who completely lack combat experience. Algren does his best to remedy this, but before the men are trained to his satisfaction, the leader of the insurrection, Katsumoto (Ken Watanabe), attacks a railroad outside his province. Bagley orders Algren to lead the inexperienced conscripts to engage Katsumoto. Algren protests and offers a demonstration of the army's inexperience and inadequate training. Bagley
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