March 8th 2013
  • Drama/Historical,
  • PG-13,
  • 98 min,
  • Roadside Attractions
  • Cast: Tommy Lee Jones, Matthew Fox, Kaori Momoi, Eriko Hatsune, Toshiyuki Nishida, Colin Moy, Nic Sampson, Masatô Ibu, Takatarô Kataoka , William Wallace, Aaron Jackson, Isao Natsuyagi, Masatoshi Nakamura, Gareth Ruck, Shôhei Hino, Masayoshi Haneda, Marina Narita
  • Director: Peter Webber
  • Writers: Vera Blasi, David Klass, Shiro Okamoto
  • Producers: Gary Foster, Russ Krasnoff , Yôko Narahashi, Eugene Nomura
  • Co Producer: Tim Coddington
  • Art Direction: Jill Cormack
  • Costume Design: Ngila Dickson
  • D.O.P.: Stuart Dryburgh
  • Editor: Chris Plummer
  • Makeup: Gabrielle Jones
  • Music: Alex Heffes
  • Production Design: Grant Major
  • Set Decoration: Daniel Birt


A story of love and understanding set amidst the tensions and uncertainties of the days immediately following the Japanese surrender at the end of World War II. On the staff of General Douglas MacArthur (Jones), the de facto ruler of Japan as Supreme Commander of the occupying forces, a leading Japanese expert, General Bonner Fellers (Fox) is charged with reaching a decision of historical importance: should Emperor Hirohito be tried and hanged as a war criminal? Interwoven is the story of Fellers' love affair with Aya, a Japanese exchange student he had met years previously in the U.S. Memories of Aya and his quest to find her in the ravaged post-war landscape help Fellers to discover both his wisdom and his humanity and enable him to come to the momentous decision that changed the course of history and the future of two nations.

Basic Information

  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Filming Locations: Auckland, New Zealand; Tokyo, Japan; Wellington, New Zealand
  • MPAA Warning: Violent content, brief strong language and smoking (historical)
  • Production Companies: Krasnoff Foster Productions, Fellers Film
  • Production Schedule: January 2012 - March 2012

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2013 Guide Analysis: "Roadside Attractions acquired "Girl with a Pearl Earring" and "Hannibal Rising" director Peter Webber's new historical drama shortly after its world premiere at the Toronto Film Festival in September. Decent, but tepid reviews from the festival strongly praised Tommy Lee Jones' performance as General Douglas MacArthur. The same reviews dismissed the stiffness of the story, along with the blandness and clumsiness of the lead character played by Matthew Fox.

The story is set in the days immediately after the Japanese surrendered at the end of World War II. MacArthur was made the de facto ruler of Japan as Supreme Commander of the occupying forces. Fox plays General Bonner Fellers, a Japanese expert brought in to make a crucial decision - should Emperor Hirohito be tried and hanged as a war criminal? There's a third subplot as well aside from MacArthur's occupation and Fellers' investigation, and that is the search by Fellers for a Japanese friend lost amidst the post-war chaos.

The script by both Vera Blasi ("Woman on Top," "Tortilla Soup") and David Klass ("Kiss the Girls," "Walking Tall") is what has come under the most fire from critics. Complaints have been targeted at its concentration on both a generic love story and an under served investigation plot, even if both have key moments about how a culture can't be rebuilt until the victors first understand it. The same reviews, however, have praised the various production values of the film which was mostly shot in New Zealand. It may be a simple take on a complicated and rich story, but it should be interesting nonetheless."

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