The Flowers of War (2011) was a film Christian Bale squeezed into the space of The Fighter and The Dark Knight Rises, but have no doubt, this film comes close in terms of quality.
The Flowers of war is a beautiful but harrowing tale of a Westerner who 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. During the 2 hours this film displays the horrors that were evident during Japan’s rule of Nanking, and the fear and sadness it spread amongst the Chinese.
Christian Bale plays a good performance and develops as a character from the start as a money directed man who has no intention of helping others without compensation. As John Miller (Bale) tries his best to direct the students to safety, he cannot stop the force of the Japanese, and whilst keeping these students safe, he falls in love with a prostitute who is in hiding with the famous beautiful prostitutes of Nanking in the basement of the church.
Yimou Zhang’s direction in Flowers of War is ‘spielbergian’ in it’s action scenes, and captures the scale of battle at a realistic level. The script for this film was mind blowingly good with fantastic dialogue that was true and heart draining at times. Without a doubt the dialogue is what makes this film so true and authentic. Flowers of War mixes action and character focus perfectly throughout the film without it getting corny. The audience slowly begins to side with John and believes in him, he’s a hero, a saviour, some may say a man sent from God himself.
This really was a great film, a film that felt so rich in it’s characters and their situation. I highly recommend The Flowers of War, however as it’s mainly an asian market, the DVD does come with a price tag of £17.99.
The Flowers of War - 7/10