Monday, April 17, 2006
Empire of The Sun

I generally not a big fan of war films, with obvious reasons; They tend to be, shall I say, a bit depressing. What do you expect from a war movie? But this time, I watched a war movie from a boy's point of view. How war is not just pure black and white or good versus evil. There are so many things at stake here. And this movie really delivers the whole moral ambiguity to the next level.

An aristocratic British boy named James/Jim Graham (Christian Bale) is separated from his family at the start of World War II after the Japanese Army invades British controlled areas of China. Reduced to living on the street and fighting for food, Jim is eventually captured in a Japanese Prison of War camp for British civilians. He befriends a manipulative American scavenger named Basie (John Malkovich). When the war ends, the boy torn from everything he knew attempts to again find his parents. Directed by Steven Spielberg.

This is Christian Bale first performance film debut. He was only 13 years old, and it remains his best performance to date. I cannot think of another acting that demands more intelligence and nuance from a child lead. It is so weird to see Christian Bale who was still a kid, and yet I knew when I watched this movie, he would grew up to become one of the best actor in the world...and Batman, nonetheless. He appears in nearly every scene, and he never once displays any awkward hesitation so characteristic of child performances, even when Steven Spielberg ladles on the hokiness. The role is exceptionally complicated, but he is nothing short of perfect. This movie is all about him and his absolutely amazing performance. I cannot believe that he didn't get nominated for Oscar for this movie! Was it because he was a young boy? There were so many child actors got nominated for all these years. I just wondered why. And I applaud Steven Spielberg's directing style that totally different from most of his movies. This was the closest thing he directed that resembles Schindler's List for children. Can you believe that this movie is intended for kids? Christian Bale include himself in every scenes, and the film becomes a sublime distillation of a child's fantasy world in a time of war and terror. His character is lonely, and he would do anything not to be alone. Watch and see cameos of actors that only have so little scenes. You'd be surprised to see 'em.

Everyone's acting is superb, especially John Malkovich's performance. He is Basie, an American scavenger and a con-man in China. He delivers a great acting, and totally balancing his performance and Christian Bale's performance. During the course of the movie, I could see a love-hate relationship between them, and Basie is the only father figure for Jim and totally depending on each other. Their relationship culminated in one single scene that I couldn't forget; when they had to grow up and separated themselves from their 'family' dependency and walked to separate ways. I could see that their performances are truly sincere and shines. But the ending of Empire is in fact troubled by our knowledge that something irreparable has already occurred, and that no pat finish can account for the horrors that Jim has experienced. Just like The Pianist for kids, in my humble opinion. The dead look in his eyes is not miraculously dispelled, it is impossible to think that Jim will ever be the boy he once was. There is something broken in his character by this point, and it makes the film all the more affecting that even a return to his former life will not resolve his troubles. Yet the stubborn defiance he displays with these few, perverse films is what I have always admired most about him - these moments of doubt, when childhood doesn't seem so appealing, and dreams take on the strange hue of an oncoming nightmare.

Ratings: 8.5/10

Posted at 12:46 pm by hanitje

April 30, 2006   11:48 AM PDT
i have no idea, actually. but according to everyone, yes.
April 29, 2006   05:05 PM PDT
was it true that this movie taken from a novel which also based on true story?
April 28, 2006   12:28 PM PDT
I really loved this movie! I gave this 8.9 ratings out of 10. :D *tee hee*
April 23, 2006   01:11 AM PDT
no, i it's a true story??? wow... amazing!
April 21, 2006   01:15 AM PDT
Hi, did you know it based loosely in J.J. Ballard own childhood?
April 18, 2006   10:42 PM PDT

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Welcome to HoneyBee Movies Addiction

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The WeatherPixie

Due to my hectic schedule, I will not be able to review all new movies every week. I apologize. I will however review some older movies from DVDs from time to time. Thank you for understanding.


Welcome to my humble weblog, a place to quench your addiction of movies. Enjoy your stay. Sometimes it's okay to be addicted to movies. PS: Beware of my brash review and language. I have a crazy obsessive compulsive behavior of watching movies. I called it being passionate. LOL. Grab some popcorn, and have a nice day! By the way, you can click the boxes at each reviews to watch the movie trailers. Enjoy!

Other Blogs

  • Ketagihan Film (Indonesian Version)


    1-2 = What are you thinking? Don't watch this movie!

    3-4 = This is a bad movie, avoid it!

    5-6 = It depends on personal taste, but whatever

    7-8 = Pretty decent to good movie, watch it!

    9-10 = You have to watch this! It's good!

  • Movies From 0 to Z:

  • The 40-Year-Old-Virgin
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey
  • 2010: The Year We Make Contact

  • Australia
  • Amelie / Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amelie Poulain
  • Angels & Demons
  • Arisan! / The Gathering
  • Aeon Flux
  • Alfie
  • Abre los ojos / Open Your Eyes

  • Basic Instinct 2: Risk Addiction
  • Batman Begins
  • Batman: Dead End
  • Batman: Mask of the Phantasm
  • The Black Stallion
  • The Brown Bunny
  • Brokeback Mountain
  • Bewitched
  • The Brothers Grimm
  • The Break-Up
  • Broken Flowers

  • A Clockwork Orange
  • Casino
  • Casino Royale
  • Cowboy Bebop: Knockin' On Heaven's Door
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
  • Cloverfield
  • Catwoman
  • Corpse Bride
  • Constantine
  • The Constant Gardener
  • Close Encounters of the Third Kind
  • El crimen del Padre Amaro/The Crime of Father Amaro
  • Crank
  • Crash
  • Click
  • The Chronicles of Narnia:The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe
  • The Chronicles of Narnia:Prince Caspian

  • The Dark Knight
  • Dreamgirls
  • De ja Vu
  • Death At A Funeral
  • The Departed
  • The Da Vinci Code
  • Disco Pigs
  • Diner
  • Derailed
  • Dogma
  • Donnie Darko
  • Der Untergang / Downfall
  • Domino
  • Doom
  • Danny the Dog / Unleashed

  • Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind
  • Eragon
  • Everything Is Illuminated
  • Empire of The Sun
  • Equilibrium
  • Empire Records
  • Elektra
  • Elizabethtown

  • Fahrenheit 9/11
  • Fargo
  • Fight Club
  • Failure To Launch
  • Fun with Dick and Jane
  • Fantastic Four

  • The Godfather
  • The Godfather II
  • The Godfather III
  • Gummo
  • Ghost World
  • Grosse Pointe Blank
  • A Good Woman
  • Grayson

  • Harry Potter & The Goblet of Fire
  • Harry Potter & The Half-Blood Prince
  • Howl's Moving Castle
  • Hot Fuzz
  • Happy Feet
  • How To Make an American Quilt
  • Holes
  • A History of Violence
  • Mrs. Henderson Present
  • Heavenly Creatures

  • Il Mare / Siwoare
  • Imagine Me & You
  • Intimacy
  • In Her Shoes
  • Into The Blue
  • Inside Man
  • The Island

  • Juno
  • Junebug
  • Just Like Heaven

  • Keeping Mum
  • King Kong
  • Kung Fu Panda
  • Kinky Boots
  • Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang

  • The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
  • El laberinto del fauno / Pan's Labyrinth
  • Little Miss Sunshine
  • Little Manhattan
  • Little Fish
  • The Lake House
  • Layer Cake
  • Lord of War
  • Luc�a y el sexo / Sex and Lucia

  • Mulholland Drive
  • Mysterious Skin
  • The Matador
  • Mimi wo sumaseba / Whisper of the Heart
  • La Marche de l'empereur / March of the Penguins
  • Memoirs of A Geisha
  • Must Love Dogs
  • MirrorMask
  • My Super Ex-Girlfriend
  • Mission: Impossible 3 / M:i:III
  • Miami Vice
  • Memento

  • Night At The Museum
  • Napoleon Dynamite

  • On The Edge
  • The Omen: 666

  • Pirates of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
  • Pirates of Caribbean: At World's End
  • Persepolis
  • Poseidon
  • Prime
  • Pan's Labyrinth
  • The Pink Panther
  • Pride and Prejudice
  • The Prestige
  • P.S, I Love You

  • The Queen
  • Quantum of Solace

  • Romeo and Juliet
  • Rocky Balboa
  • Red-Eye
  • Requiem for A Dream
  • Rumor Has It...
  • Reservoir Dogs
  • Romance X

  • Superman Returns
  • Secretary
  • Say Anything...
  • She's The Man
  • The Sentinel
  • Stage Beauty
  • Serenity
  • Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith
  • Sky High
  • Syriana
  • Snakes On A Plane
  • The Science of Sleep / La Science des r�ves
  • Sliding Doors
  • Sunset Blvd.
  • Smokin' Aces
  • Spider-Man 3

  • Terminator Salvation
  • Thank You For Smoking
  • Transformers
  • Training Day
  • Transporter 2
  • Trainspotting
  • Take The Lead
  • Thumbsucker
  • Twilight

  • Underworld: Evolution

  • Vanilla Sky
  • The Virgin Suicides
  • V for Vendetta

  • William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet
  • Walk The Line
  • Whale Rider
  • The World's Fastest Indian
  • While You Were Sleeping
  • Wanted
  • World's Finest
  • Wedding Crashers
  • War of The Worlds
  • Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of The Were-Rabbit

  • X-Men Origins: Wolverine
  • X-Men: The Last Stand / X3 / X-Men III

  • You, Me, and Dupree


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