47 Ronin

Watched 47 Ronin on Tuesday.

I really enjoyed it. No, it wasn’t historically accurate. Yes, it plopped a white dude in the middle of a quintessentially Japanese story1. Yes, it added a romance subplot. Yes, it added magic and fantastic elements. It was still fun.

The movie is problematic from a cultural appropriation and erasure standpoint. It fails to get major and minor details about Japanese life, society, language, or customs right. It warps a story about duty and honor into a love story. How much of those details are capable of being meaningfully conveyed to an audience without a pre-existing background in Japanese folklore, culture, and history is debatable.

For all of that, it was a rip-roaring fun movie. I do wonder how much the director’s2 intended cut would work and how different it would be from the current final product. Keanu Reeves was solid, nothing special, but not a drag upon the movie either. This is less an attempt at a historical epic, than someone using the bare frame of the historic event to create a fantasy film.

Highly recommended.


  1. See this wikipedia article for more background. 
  2. Carl Rinsch reportedly intended for Keanu Reeves to be less central to the movie. 

Arsenic and Old Lace

Watched Arsenic and Old Lace last night.

Liked it a lot. I’ve mixed feelings on the actual play because it’s done so often and has ossified into a hoary old stale set piece so much of the time, but the movie was excellent.

The humor of it all works excellently with the cast. There’s just something about those two sweet old ladies.