American Fable is ambitious, maybe too much so sometimes, but there's an intense pleasure in the boldness of the film's style.
The poster for "Emperor" shows Tommy Lee Jones as Gen. Douglas MacArthur in gigantic silhouette, his corncob pipe nearly the same height as the American man and Japanese woman embracing at the bottom of the frame, deep in the embrace of what appears to be Forbidden Wartime Movie Love.
Only the title tells us this won't be your standard issue World War II movie.
In fact, save for flashbacks, "Emperor" is set in the immediate aftermath of the war. The embers are still burning through much of Japan, and the nation is on its knees, with the defeated Emperor Hirohito behind palace doors while MacArthur and his team debate his fate.
Indeed, this big-picture tale occasionally pauses for a star-crossed romance about an American college student turned soldier and the Japanese woman he continues to love even after their countries are at war. But, as is the case with most of the elements in "Emperor," the cliches are relatively few and spaced apart, and the tearjerking and profound moments are authentic and well-earned.