the flowers of war
The Flowers of War is a historical war Drama about the 1937 Rape of Nanking in the Second Sino-Japanese War. The film is based on a novella called 13 Flowers of Nanjing by Geling Yan, which was inspired by the diary of Minnie Vautrin.

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Starring: Christian Bale, Ni Ni, Xinyi Zang, Tianyuan Huang
Directed by: Yimou Zhang

Synopsis: A Westerner (Christian Bale) finds refuge with a group of women in a church during Japan’s rape of Nanking in 1937. Posing as a priest, he attempts to lead the women to safety.

Sean Burns (Philadelphia Weekly) A florid, melodramatic tear-jerker of questionable taste but undeniable emotional impact. Full Review
Graham Young (Birmingham Post) The filming techniques cross Saving Private Ryan with Zimou’s own Hero and other dynastic, martial arts-driven Chinese epics. Full Review
Philip French (Observer [UK]) It contributes nothing of value to an understanding of these events. Full Review
Tara Brady (Irish Times) It can look tremendous, even if Zhao Xiaoding’s hyper-stylised ’90-retro cinematography sits uneasily beside relentless bloodshed and sexual violations. Full Review
Peter Bradshaw (Guardian) Bale is forthright and emotional in the role, and with a hint of boyish vulnerability, even reminds us of his 13-year-old self in Spielberg’s Empire of the Sun. Full Review
Nigel Andrews (Financial Times) Maudlin make-believe in which a molecule of fact has been dropped like vermouth into a martini … Full Review
Robbie Collin (Daily Telegraph) Zhang gives his fondness for chaste melodrama and shimmering colours full rein: it’s a style that suits his courtly martial arts films such as Hero, but this material would have benefited from a more Spielbergian, or perhaps David Lean-ian, approach. Full Review
Henry Fitzherbert (Daily Express) While absorbing and never dull you can’t help feeling the horrific subject matter deserved rather more subtle handling. Full Review
David Jenkins (Little White Lies) The title alludes to a precious beauty that grows during times of war, but this is just taking things way too far. The colour here is way off. Full Review
Matthew Turner (ViewLondon) Impressively directed and beautifully shot, this is a compelling, superbly acted drama that exerts a powerful emotional grip, though it’s impossible not to suspect that certain liberties have been taken with the actual events. Full Review
(Sky Movies) It is is impossible not to be moved. Bales sometimes overeggs his Western saviour yet is watchable throughout, imbuing Miller with a nobility that is only explained in the final reel. Full Review
Trevor Johnston (Time Out) Zhang’s flamboyant camera choreography and diva-ish flounces of melodrama are vivid but misplaced. Full Review
Angie Errigo (Empire Magazine) As you’d expect, it’s beautiful, emotional and exciting, if florid in style. Bale, beauties and English dialogue widen Yimou’s appeal. Full Review
Pablo Villaça (Cinema em Cena) Um filme que peca ao ouvir a expressão “espetáculo de crueldade” e conferir maior peso à primeira palavra do que à segunda. Full Review
Richard Nilsen (Arizona Republic) “The Flowers of War” seems like a pretty good film until you begin to think about it. Full Review
Roger Moore (Tribune News Service) Veering from the sensational to the maudlin, this is a compromised epic that panders to the Chinese audience. Full Review
David Nusair (Reel Film Reviews) …the movie’s less-than-engrossing atmosphere [is] compounded by its stagy and distressingly uneventful midsection… Full review
Liam Lacey (Globe and Mail) An unsettling mixture of spectacular brutality and sentimentality that might make even Steven Spielberg blush. Full Review
Liz Braun (Jam! Movies) Not only huge and unwieldy, but seemingly unsure of what it wants to do/say/prove. Full Review
Greg Quill (Toronto Star) The director’s grip on the drama is often weakened by his penchant for creating spectacles. Full Review

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