This handsomely mounted but stolid historical drama comes at its subject matter from a strange angle.
The film is set just after the dropping of the atom bombs during the early days of the US occupation of Japan in 1945.
General Douglas MacArthur (played with scene-stealing swagger by Tommy Lee Jones) is puzzling how best to govern Japan. He doesn't know how to deal with Emperor Hirohito, still regarded as a god by the Japanese people.
Rather than focus on Hirohito and MacArthur, the film takes the perspective of a far less interesting character, Brigadier General Bonner Fellers (Matthew Fox), who has personal ties to Japan.
The attempts at combining political analysis with romantic melodrama don't work at all.