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The Flowers of War 2012

Amazon Instant Video

(77) 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, Tianyuan Huang, Xiting Han, Doudou Zhang, Dawei Tong, Atsuro Watabe, Kefan Cao, Yangchunzi Yuan, Jia Sun, Yuemin Li, Bai Xue, Takashi Yamanaka, Shigeo Kobayashi, Paul Schneider, Chun Li, Mengqiao Zhou, Liuyin Qian, Li Deng
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

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Mr. Diaz on 26 Sept. 2015
Format: DVD
Set during the 30s Japanese invasion of China, the film retells the true story of how a group of prostitutes and convent girls hid in a convent during the 'rape' of Nanking to escape the rampage of the Imperial Army, and how, despite their differences, one group was willing to make a terrible sacrifice for the sake of the other.

While heavy handed, 'Flowers of War' is one of the better foreign epics of recent times by comparison to duds like 'For Greater Glory' and 'There Be Dragons'. Not just because of production values and scope to rival any Hollywood production, the battles being exceptionally bloody, grimey and tense while the city genuinely looks like war torn ruins, but in a fairly strong cast with a genuine sense of camaraderie. Despite being top billed, the show stealing is done not by a grizzled, weasely Bale as a mortician turned priest who acts as the women's guardian, though he is still solid, but by the ragtag group of prostitutes who grow a heart and become almost big sisters to the sheltered convent girls. You get your mix of the loveable goofballs, the stuck up snobs, the needy ones and then the sultry, determined leader of the group (played by Ni Ni) but none ever feel like obnoxious caricatures and the actresses make them very endearing.

Also, the film is not exceptionally focused on religion despite the setting, thus allowing us more to focus on human nature and individual willpower as opposed to some hamfisted 'divinity' that would typically crop up in this sort of story.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By robert stirling TOP 1000 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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