After Japan surrendered in WW2 General Douglas MacArthur (Tommy Lee Jones) was sent to help rebuild the country and cement better relations among the two nations that fought each other . Along the way he has to find out how involved the Japanese Emperor Hirohito (Takataro Kataoka) has been in the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the actual war. He puts General Bonner Fellers (Matthew Fox) in charge of the investigation, giving him 10 days to investigate and come to the conclusion whether the Emperor should be held for war crimes and possibly executed.
In “Emporer” we find a country in ruin except for the royal palaces of the ruler which has maintained its splendor but it is never explained how, which would have made for a more interesting story. Instead we have a mostly fictionalized story of General Fellers and a Japanese woman before the war and his search for her afterwards.
There are some examples of the different ways the two countries, and the people who lead them, are but not enough not hold the audience’s interest. There are hints of the politics back in the States and those who want the Emperor executed. There is also reference to the possibility that MacArthur may run for President.
Tommy Lee Jones isn’t on screen long enough but he snaps off his lines so sharply that you wish he had made a longer appearance. Matthew Fox has the longer, starring role but isn’t very commanding in the role of a General and the love story is a complete waste. The screenplay by David KLass and Vera Blasi is far from interesting or even suspenseful regarding what will be the final report on the Emperor. The direction by Peter Weber just sits there.
For whatever reason all I could think of was the Marlon Brando movie “Saynora” which would be worth more of your time.