Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence 1983 war film review

Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence 1983 war film review

Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence (1983, United Kingdom)

Original / alternative title: Furyo

Categories: POW camp movies

Running time: 120 minutes

Language: English / Japanese

During World War 2 in Japanese POW camp on Java Colonel Lawrence does his best to keep the status quo between Allied prisoners and Japanese guards. The arrival of new prisoner changes the situation completely.

Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence 1983 war film review

During World War 2 in Japanese prisoners of war camp somewhere in Java British officer Colonel John Lawrence tries his best to keep the status quo between the Allied prisoners and Japanese guards. Incident between Korean guard and Dutch prisoner put a strain on the fragile balance - when prisoner accuses the guard of sexual assault camp commander Captain Yonoi gives order for the guard to be killed in traditional Japanese manner - seppuku. He forces the prisoners to watch, but when they try to avoid it Yonoi punish them and again it is up to Lawrence to fix the situation. He is lucky enough that Yonoi and Sergeant Hara are open-minded and spend some time trying to learn something about the western mentality. But soon the efforts of Lawrence are ruined again with arrival of new prisoner, the South African serving in British Army, Major Jack Celliers, who is seen by other soldiers are natural leader. Yonoi seems to be obsessed with Celliers, he keeps trying to learn something about him from Lawrence, he visits Celliers in the hut where he is interned. This obsession leads to a clash, because Celliers tries the limits how far he can push the limits before Japanese officer will snap.

British war drama based on the experiences of Laurens van der Post, who was a Japanese prisoner during World War 2. While the whole story takes place in POW camp on Java the story does not concentrate on the usual themes, but rather tries to show the differences between mentality of the Europe and Japan in the middle of 20th century - Japan was opening up to foreign influences after centuries of isolation, but their traditional rules were completely incomprehensible to Allied soldiers and vice versa.


Our rating: 4.4 / 10

Film value: 4 / 10

Realism factor: 4 / 5

Adventure factor: 1 / 5

Historical accuracy factor: 2 / 5

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