Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence is a film which covers many things, on many different levels- the simplest being that of a war film. However to dismiss it as such would be to do an injustice to this superb bit of film making.
The tangled tensions of this prisoner of war camp make for riveting viewing as two cultures clash between their views of honour. The sergeant (Takeshi Kitano) cannot reconcile his friendship with Lawrence (Tom Conte) with his view of Westerner's being weak and dishonourable. In one particulary memorable scene Kitano declares all Englishmen to be homosexual, and thus views his superior's deeper relationship with Bowie as suspect
The strange subliminal attraction between Celliers and Yonoi adds another depth to this already layered film, as Yonoi fights to understand what can give Cellier's such courage to face death without Yonoi's reassurance of Samurai ancestors.
Sakamoto gives a moving performance of a man displaced from time, longing for the simpler times of war and honour, caught in a limbo between his attraction to celliers and his need to do what was right.
The music was beautiful and the cinematography excellent. I highly recommend this film for anyone even if you are not interested in war films- I'm not myself