Nigel Havers

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Empire Of The Sun Review


Excellent
1941 notwithstanding (and we're all still trying to forget it), Empire of the Sun was Steven Spielberg's first big trip to World War II. For Spielberg, it was an unlikely way to go about it -- examining the British viewpoint of the Japanese incursion into China.

Christian Bale stars as Jim, a British kid born in Shanghai, the son of upper crust expatriates who feel the rising tide of Japanese-Chinese aggression will never reach there strata. Of course it does, and as the Japanese overtake Shanghai, Jim's family is torn asunder, scattering in the chaos. But eventually, like Ben-Hur, Jim returns home to discover his house in ruins and his loved ones gone, so he does the only thing he can think of -- surrender to the Japanese. Only the Japanese don't even want the worthless kid, until finally, after hooking up with a seedy scam artist named Basie (John Malkovich) and his flunkie (Joe Pantoliano), does he manage to get himself arrested and thrown into an internment camp where at least there is the promise of a daily potato and some gruel.

Continue reading: Empire Of The Sun Review

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