The Flowers of War 2012

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(69) IMDb 7.6/10
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An American, trapped amidst the Japanese invasion of Nanking in 1937, seeks refuge in a church with a group of schoolchildren and courtesans.

Christian Bale,Ni Ni
2 hours, 22 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Drama
Director Yimou Zhang
Starring Christian Bale, Ni Ni
Supporting actors Xinyi Zhang
Studio Kaleidoscope Home Entertainment
BBFC rating Suitable for 15 years and over
Rental rights 48 hour viewing period. Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Customer Reviews

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By THE MOVIE GUY on 14 Aug. 2013
Format: DVD
Christian Bale stars as John Miller, a mortician on his way to Winchester Cathedral in the middle of war torn Nanking 1937 to bury a priest. The Japanese are taking control of the city. As a westerner Miller is allowed some leeway. When he gets to the church, he discovers they have no money to pay him. There is a group of a dozen girl students who want out. While he is trying to sort things out, a group of local prostitutes arrive seeking refuge from the war.

John Miller immediately shows us his bad side. In addition to the conflict between the Japanese and Chinese, the students don't want the working girls there. The working girls want out of Nanking too and promise John "unimaginable pleasures" from all of them for safe passage.

Eventually, Miller dons a priest cloak and goes from zero to hero as he works relentlessly to save the girls. It is a story which shows how the least of us become heroes.

Much of the movie is in English, the rest has subtitles. There is some first person narration by one of the students. I thought the oriental actors did a better job than Christian Bale who reminded me too much of Jeff Bridges. Chinese actress Ni Ni as Yu Mo gave us a good performance.

There are war scenes, killing, and a few rape scenes, although this is not a grindhouse exploitation film. No nudity, some f-bombs lobbed in Chinese. The film, as expected, has its emotional ups and downs.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By The Truth TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 17 Dec. 2012
Format: Blu-ray
Flowers of War isn't exactly an easy watch. It tells the story of a group of convent girls trapped in a Catholic Church and held hostage by the Japanese during the Nanking massacre of 1937. Although it makes for uncomfortable viewing at times, ultimately it is a very rewarding watch.

Based on a true story it's a story of human resilience, sacrifice, ingenuity and ultimately triumph. The horrors of war and impact on the civilian population as Japan seize the Chinese capital are frankly addressed and brutally depicted; as are the strengths and weaknesses of the human spirit, along with extreme examples of it at its best and it's most horrific.

Although I've given this 4 stars it is, in a lot of ways, a 5 star film. Although the war ravaged scenery isn't exactly beautiful in the conventional sense, it is stunning to see on screen. And with Bale cast in the central role there is of course plenty of superb acting throughout.

The rest of the cast don't quite live up to the same standard as Christian, but you can't help but become emotionally involved in their story and the predicament they find themselves in all the same - this is one of those stories, so intense is its nature, it crosses cultural boundaries and resonates on some deeper level of humanity.

Overall it's a very good film. I don't want to use the world enjoyable, as somehow that doesn't seem right given its contents and subject matter, but as the mixed cast play out the tale of events, it's easy to see why they're events that have gone down in Chinese folklore.

The Bluray, as a whole is very good - the picture and sound are perfect (although apparently in the wrong picture ratio, but I didn't notice this and only found out reading some reviews here) and there are a few interesting extras, such as a very revealing interview with Christian Bale which give you a small insight into some of the ways this man works to pull of off his incredible performances.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By robert stirling TOP 500 REVIEWER on 31 Dec. 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
First let me get my gripes out of the way: my copy is marketed by Revolver Entertainment and is 136 minutes long,not 146 minutes as advertised on Amazon's product description.
The dvd jacket states subtitles are in English:yes there are English subtitles but ONLY to cover the dialogue that is in Chinese/Mandarin and/or Japanese, NOT for the English spoken for much of the film.As much as I admire the Chinese actors for their ability to speak in English I found it difficult to follow at times.It was a bit Benny Hill-esque to my ear.

The film itself is magnificent.I have seen City of Life & Death [DVD] and City Of War: The Story of John Rabe [DVD] which are extremely harrowing,with little respite from depicting the horrors of the occupation of Nanking by the Japanese.

This film manages to show some humour and compassion as well as the extradordinary horrors experienced by the Chinese.

As such it can draw a much wider audience to see this terrible event in 20th century history.Even my wife was impressed with the production watching with me.

I've always wondered how and why the Japanese have gotten away with the atrocities committed during this pre-WW2 battle and occupation; perhaps the treatment of our own prisoners of war during the larger war overshadowed Nanking's massacre.The scale of the rapes and killings have never matched the supposed justice meted out after the war against the little men behind the sun.
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Format: DVD
A very good film. Let's face it - anything with Christian Bale in it is going to be worthwhile as is Sam Elliott, Robert Duvall or Tommy Lee Jones or the Coen Brothers.
'Enjoyable' is the wrong word: 'rivetting' is more apt. A disturbing event in history which makes good cinema because it is unbelievable that people could have behaved so universally despicably and nationally evil. Sickenly so because it is all true. How we can still tolerate this vile nation in today's commercial world to a level of forgetful forgiveness, I will never understand. That said, the photography is brilliant, the acting believable & the 2nd unit scenes realistic in a way the oriental filmakers seem to have mastered in learning from Spielberg and others and taken a step beyond (eg 'Assembly', 'Into the Fire' etc).
My only criticisms are that I saw every plot development clearly telegraphed by the many clues left. I put this down to my advanced age. This was to the extent that I started to think that perhaps it was a remake of an old (less violent) 40's movie with maybe Spencer Tracy or Ward Bond in the lead role protecting almond eyed beauties against the evil, yellow eyed peril of Lon Chaney in WW11 - maybe with Bob Hope & Bing Crosby popping up with a tune or two to give a moment of levity to the tragedy.
So, unless you're old enough to remember all these corny old plot lines, enjoy this well made story of a terrible but true historical event.
And- never forgive or forget! That's why films like this are tough to watch but vital to prevent any recurrence. The true tragedy of history is that all the clues are there but we're too naive to believe history can happen again. Deja vu!
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