NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

PortWatch

March 8, 2013

MacArthur re-interpreted in 'Emperor'

(Continued)

The script (by Vera Blasi and David Klass, based on a Shiro Okamoto book) plays up the culture clash, the bitter feelings of the ex-combatants and the uncertain times, with communism emerging as the Next Big Threat. But the film soft-peddles the real Fellers’ politics to make way for a love story that may be fiction.

Jones is game for the larger-than-life MacArthur, but Fox comes up short as a lovelorn romantic lead. His soldiering is fine, but he never suggests a guy who carries a torch.

Director Peter Webber’s team manages detailed depictions of the place and time that are spot-on. The investigations and interrogations play well and do a fine job of explaining the stakes and the murky evidence. But the love story turns it all into melodrama, robbing a forgotten piece of history of its potential to educate in addition to entertain.

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