Empire of the Sun review
Daniel Corleone - wrote on 12/08/11
Its era is during the conquering of the Japanese of Shanghai during World War II. Jamie (Bale) is left alone due to the war’s detrimental effects and request of his parents to go back home. Basie (John Malkovich) and Frank invites Jamie who has a “name for a new life” and a meal. The pair tries to sell the boy but nobody gets him because of his built. They are taken to Lunghua Civilian Assembly Center in Shanghai and then moved to Suzhou Creek Internment Camp. Dr. Rawlins looks over Jim while the Japanese mistreat the survivors. American P-51 Mustang fighter aircrafts raid the camp while Dr. Rawlins comfort Jim. Mrs. Victor’s (Miranda Richardson) wife looks for her husband thru Jim while in a truck. People will go upcountry to search for food. Jim’s Japanese friend gets accidentally killed and is found by her mother again in an orphanage.
A few minor details I find questioning were some of the scenes irrelevant to the story that made the film a bit too long and a more recognizable female character to compliment the remarkable acting of the male leads. Despite its brilliance, no awards were garnered for Art Direction, Cinematography, Editing, Original Music Score, Costume Design, and Sound. The screenplay was sensational with some of the lines from this epic film: “It’s how we’ll win. Refusing to die.” Dr. Rawlins - “Try not to think so much! Try not to think so much!” Jim – “the best teacher is the University of life.” The 13 year old British actor named Christian Bale whose earnest performance together with the skilled Malkovich also made the movie work. One of the best cinematography has been displayed from this reviewer’s favorite director’s realistic film, samples would be the sunsets and atom bomb sequence. Subjects of patriotism, identity, kindness, friendship, cruelty of war, maturity and dealing with life’s dissonance were tackled. The special feature provided meaningful inputs such as history and the first time a Hollywood director had full control to shoot in Shanghai (going back 50 years to recreate the time of war). Empire of the Sun is a majestic underrated picture with an intellectual script and almost all the elements a movie should possess in a historical drama.