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Film review: ‘Emperor’

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Emperor opens in theaters Friday.

The Details

Emperor
Two and a half stars
Matthew Fox, Tommy Lee Jones, Eriko Hatsune
Directed by Peter Webber
Rated PG-13, opens Friday
Beyond the Weekly
Official Movie Site
IMDb: Emperor
Rotten Tomatoes: Emperor

There aren’t a lot of World War II stories left that haven’t already been dramatized, but Emperor does its best to illuminate a lesser-known portion of history. It focuses on the immediate aftermath of the war in Japan, as American General Bonner Fellers (Matthew Fox) is tasked by General Douglas MacArthur (Tommy Lee Jones) with determining the wartime culpability of Japanese Emperor Hirohito. Rather dry scenes of Fellers interviewing various Japanese officials alternate with his recollections of falling in love with a Japanese woman (Eriko Hatsune) before the war. Emperor is handsomely shot but narratively stagnant, with platitude-filled dialogue and mostly listless performances. The love story and the investigation never really connect, and Fox isn’t a very compelling leading man. Emperor ends up adding little to the crowded canon of World War II cinema.

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