Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence

  • Film
0 Love It
For all the praise heaped upon Oshima's admittedly ambitious film about East-West relations in the microcosm of a Japanese PoW camp during World War II, it's far less satisfactory than most of his earlier work. It may go against Japanese taboos as it deals with commandant Sakamoto's obsessive love for prisoner Bowie, it may be stylishly shot, it may seem uncompromising in its depiction of the Japanese war ethic and the insistence on harakiri as a more honourable reaction to defeat than submission to imprisonment. But the web of relationships between English and Japanese is too schematic in its polarisation of characters, Oshima's handling of the narrative is not so much elliptical as awkward, and Bowie's performance is embarrassingly wooden. Add to that Sakamoto's turgid score and posing narcissism, some horrendous symbolism, and some pretty shoddy technical work (several of the pans are hurried and blurred), and you have a fair old mess.

Release details

Duration: 124 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Nagisa Oshima
Screenwriter: Nagisa Oshima, Paul Mayersberg
Cast: David Bowie
Tom Conti
Ryuichi Sakamoto
Takeshi Kitano
Jack Thompson
Johnny Okura
Yuya Uchida

Average User Rating

4.4 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:1
  • 4 star:1
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|6
1 person listening
Ben

Uneven storytelling, meandering, cliched, sometimes over the top, sometimes confused, this movie was disappointing. Bowie was not well-cast. The interlude regarding his younger brother was unconvincing. Sakamoto is beautiful to look at, but his acting is a bit obtuse. good music, though.

Ben

Uneven storytelling, meandering, cliched, sometimes over the top, sometimes confused, this movie was disappointing. Bowie was not well-cast. The interlude regarding his younger brother was unconvincing. Sakamoto is beautiful to look at, but his acting is a bit obtuse. good music, though.

Andy  Millea

Far from perfect, but none the less haunting and affecting, it somehow becomes more than the sum of all its parts.

Andy  Millea

Far from perfect, but none the less haunting and affecting, it somehow becomes more than the sum of all its parts.