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Yojimbo's Movie Reviews (2306)

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Empire of the Sun 
"Empire Of The Sun" by Yojimbo
2.5/4 stars

Based upon the autobiographical novel by J. G. Ballard chronicling his experiences as a boy during the Japanese invasion of colonial China, Empire Of The Sun is one of Steven Spielberg's first attempts at a "grown up" film. The film centres on Christian Bale whose remarkable performance at the tender age of 13 was the first glimpse of the talent he is capable of and was a revelation at the time. It's very much his show all the way as the fine supporting cast never really get to shine during a deeply personal journey, but this coming of age story set to the backdrop of a country in turmoil and the destruction of an empire is both intelligent and moving. My only real criticism would be that Spielberg had not the directorial maturity he displayed for Schindler's List, meaning that at key moments to the story he couldn't help himself prompting the audience with a visual flourish or rousing musical interlude to underline how we were supposed to be feeling; as if he didn't trust us to empathise for ourselves. This is a minor criticism however, as the finished product is a visually pleasing, finely played and engaging war story that's made all the more affecting by the fact that it is a true story.


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