Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence details
|Formats:||15 DVD, Blu-ray|
|Starring:||David Bowie, Tom Conti, Ryuichi Sakamato|
|Collections:||Back to the 80s, Decades: 80s, Wartime Drama|
Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence
|Run time:||2 hours 2 minutes|
|Rental release:||24 Jan 2005|
Most helpful review
Brutal and beautifulBy Annie D from London, England , 28 Jul 2005
[Highly rated reviewer]Very few movies depict the vast chasm between two cultures with respect, but this is one of the few that pulls it off. Set near the end of WW2, this movie focuses on the clash between the Japanese and the English -- not on a bloody battlefield but in the relative quiet of a POW camp as a Japanese captain (Ryuichi Sakamoto) and a British soldier (David Bowie) wage a battle of wills against each other.
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Almost a masterpieceBy DGB72 (20 reviews) from Ipswich , 26 Mar 2013Probably one of the more esoteric WWII films you're likely to find and definitely one to watch (and if you've seen it before watch it again)!
Tom Conti's performance is simply outstanding: measured, impassioned, humorous and touching. Takeshi Kitano's also gives a great performance and more than makes up for David Bowie's occasionally faltering performance and the mawkish scenes of childhood reminiscence in this brutal yet cathartic exploration of the fatal clash of cultural values in a Japanese prisoner of war camp. Ryuichi Sakamoto's score is oddly beautiful and he gives a solid performance as the conflicted camp commander too.
He is a hero, just for one filmBy zorilla (228 reviews) from Kew, Richmond , 21 Aug 2012Time is very rarely kind to the past - particularly when that past occurred in the early 80's. A lot of music that I loved then including a lot of Bowie and Sakamoto (both within and without Yellow Magic Orchestra) is now unlistenable. I think technology has a lot to do with it - all those early synthesizers squonking over a perfectly decent tune for no apparent reason.
Thankfully Oshima kept technology to an absolute minimum so what we have here is something that looks like an old fashioned POW film, but is in fact an extraordinarily modern insight into the minds of men in conflict... with their enemies, with their allies and with themselves. This makes the film a totally unique and timeless story of conflict and friendship that stands the test of time because of its perspective, honesty, intelligence and integrity... plus for most of us, it was our first glimpse of Takeshi Kitano who delivers the performance of a lifetime.
A superb film by an intense master craftsman that begs the question why did he make such few films after proving with this and Ai No Corrida that he had the potential to become the preeminent director of his generation? Jeez, he even manages to coax a half way decent performance out of Bowie and if that's not a sign of genius I don't know what is.
Brutal, yet haunting - a must see filmBy Turquoiselady (15 reviews) , 10 Feb 2012I first watched this film in my first year at uni (1983), 28 years later it still had the same impact, in spite of the dated cinematography. A superb film, brutal in many aspects, but also sympathetic in highlighting the cultural differences between the British and Japanese during WWII. Unlike many cliche war films, it does not resort to stereotypes. Bowie and Sakamoto are both mesmerising in their roles - the visual contrast between these two seemed to highlight the commonalities between the two men. Conti excels as Col Lawrence, as does Kitano as Sergeant Hara. The 'kiss' retains its power and the ending remains heartbreaking. My only criticism was using Bowie (35 years old!) to play his character as a sixth former - it looked ridiculous!
I'd also forgotten how haunting Sakamoto's soundtrack was and have now replaced my old cassette with a i-tunes download of 'Forbidden Colours' and hopefully will be able to find the soundtrack on CD. Everyone should watch this film at least once in their lifetime.
Worth seeing (again).By jules56 (6 reviews) from Richmond , 01 Dec 2011Watched this again after many years having just seen Sakamoto in concert at the RFH in London a few weeks ago. The film still stands as a battle between two cultures and is a great piece of film making. Even Bowie is good!
Lets sing on a song for the rain forest David, on this mahogany piano.By Rottertron (32 reviews) from Hockley, Essex , 08 Aug 2011Didnt get it really...sorry. I mean, I didnt see its point. Bowie is some messiah like figure at the Japenese POW camp, that you are expecting to deliver some revelation or perform some action that saves his fellow prisoners from its horrors, but well he doesn't. Nothing else of particular notable interest occurs either.
The music is persistent througout the film, and sticks in your head for days, which wouldnt have bothered me if the film had actually been any good.
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