‘Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence’ Review (Post #35)
I had never heard of Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence until the day I checked it out from the public library in town. (By the way Libraries are a great place to rent numbers of wonderful films for free) I was intrigued to see this film when I read on the box that that David Bowie was in it. Though I haven’t seen many films with him in it, (Labyrinth, The Prestige) I have enjoyed his performances. I was finally able to watch this Criterion film a week later as I traveled to Illinois.
David Bowie plays a British officer named Jack Celliers who has recently been placed in a POW camp in Japan. The camp commander (Played by Ryuichi Sakamoto, who I learned was also the composer of the film) is captivated by the blonde, British major when he is up for trial before entering the prison camp.
Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence is a WWII drama that deals with the tension of sexual and spiritual eroticism of war. This film was wonderfully crafted but won ‘t be loved by most Western viewers. It takes some time to grow its story but does it in a very meticulous and precise way. This film is a thought provoker and not something that should or will be taken lightly. The acting was truly great at times, especially when Bowie was onscreen. Sakamoto lack of acting experience comes across the language barrier to be a bit lacking at times. But overall this was a masterfully crafted film that may leave an impression but not one big enough to draw a major audience.